One thing that has crystallized (for me at least) is that the best hope we have of winning this series is Rajon Rondo. Talking with a Cavs blogger the other day, the only guy he feared was Rondo, and with good reason. You couldn't ask for a better performance from Rajon in game one, yet I fear we'll have to ask for just a bit more.
Did that foul that O'Neal stick on him make him more passive or was he simply passing more (and getting less results out of his teammates)? Rondo indicates that it is the latter.
This series all about Rajon Rondo - BostonHerald.com
"It’s still a team game, so I don’t want to try to do too much - but it starts with me. I don’t like dominating the ball and trying to score every time down. That’s not how my mentality is. I’m a pass-first point guard, so I’m always looking for the other guy. "In the second half I think I did that maybe too much. I should have called maybe more pick-and-rolls for myself, but at the same time I didn’t want to keep on calling plays for myself."
Maybe he needs to. Perhaps we need 35 points out of Rondo to win a few games in this series. Or perhaps it is a timing thing. Get the teammates involved early and THEN call your own number when the team really needs some buckets.
Rondo might have to come to the realization that he's now the best (most consistent) player on the team. That's really hard with a cast of Hall of Famers but sooner or later he'll have to accept it.
Is there a danger of relying too much on Rondo? A better question might be, as opposed to what?
"He’s a good player and he’s going to have the opportunity to get into the paint," Rivers said. "Should we say they rely too much on LeBron? You got something going, you stick with it. I thought we should have done it more."
Bonus Quote from Cavs the Blog (h/t RA):
You know what the difference down the stretch was? Rajon Rondo isn't the most experienced player on the Celtics. He's not their locker room leader. He played the smallest role of anyone in the "big four" in Boston's 2008 title run. He's the least complete offensive player of the Celtics' top players. He's also, by a wide margin, their best offensive option against the Cavaliers. Down the stretch, all those cliches about what separates fourth-quarter baskets from first quarter-baskets clouded the Celtics' thinking down the stretch. They're having an alpha dog crisis. If they figure it out, they have a great chance of taking this series. If they don't, they'll be doing the Cavs a huge favor. Fortunately for Cavalier fans, the Cavs are not having an alpha dog crisis.