Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rondo to the Rescue; Utah is a One-Man Team

Quick hits from tonight's games:

1. Boston better be glad that Rajon Rondo was in uniform tonight, because he saved them from going down 3-2, probably losing the series, and being viewed as a giant disappointment. The Celtics were crapping the bed tonight as all their veteran stars played with a "oh crap, we are about to choke" look on their face. But then the young point guard came swooping in to drain threes, take the Cavs out of their offense (more on this in a minute), and go for 20 and 13. He literally saved the season.

(One more note on Rondo, pertaining to the immortal broadcasting duo of Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello. They spent so much time raving about Doc Rivers that they failed to note the key factor in the game, which was Rondo's defense on Cleveland's point guards. He was so dominant on that end of the floor that Mike Brown had to use LeBron just to get the ball up the floor and initiate the offense. This, of course, took James away from the spots on the floor where he'd been so successful in the first half. When LeBron can use screens and get on the block and work from angles, the Cavs are actually at least mediocre. But when he has to start the offense and do all the ball handling, they are atrocious. Rondo single-handedly forced them into the latter. Yet no mention of this was made. Not once. Good job, guys. On the plus side, they lavished praise on Rivers for having the genius to "insert Rondo into the game for Sam Cassell in the second quarter." Oh, really, putting your starting point guard back in after his regular rest is genius now? Good night.)

2. The Jazz are officially a one-man team. In the playoffs, you need multiple players that can step up and carry you for stretches of games. The Pistons have Billups, Hamilton, Wallace, AND Prince that can do it. The Celtics have, well, presumably they have guys that can do it (provided they are playing at home). The Spurs have Parker, Manu, and Duncan. The Hornets have CP3 and David West. The Lakers have Bryant, Gasol, and Odom. The only remaining teams that don't? The Cavs and the Jazz. Cleveland, you know about, with LeBron being the only guy on that team that can create his own shot, generate plays for others, or finish on a consistent basis (and since he can't clone himself to achieve all three at once, it makes things tough ... as Jay-Z would say, "Hello, Brooklyn!"). But wasn't Utah supposed to have the two studs in the "Next Stockton and Malone"? Um, somebody forgot to fill Carlos Boozer in on that deal. His below-the-rim style, rushed shots around the basket, and moronic turnovers are absolutely killing Utah. So while Williams continues to play like a beast, the Jazz can't quite get over the hump against a Lakers team that was ripe for the taking tonight. As Avery Johnson said in the postgame, if they get even a little bit from Boozer inside, they win that game.

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