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Celtics outlast Bulls without Rose, mostly because Rondo is awesome

Feb 12, 2012, 8:00 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo had 32 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds.

You’re pretty much not going to beat the Celtics without  a Derrick-Rose when that happens, and the Bulls did not Sunday, as they lost 95-91 in Boston.

Was it a good win? Yes and no.

The Celtics lead throughout, and only really allowed two significant runs. The Big 3 didn’t play well at all (12-28), and yet Boston only felt the noose tighten at the end. Yet it did tighten, and without Derrick Rose. Boston needed the win to get off a two-game losing streak, but without Rose, a blowout would have made people feel a lot better about the long-term health of the Celtics. As it stands, Rondo is developing excellent chemistry with Chris Wilcox, the Celtics were missing Jermaine O’Neal and Brandon Bass, and the Celtics still managed to beat a quality team.

The Bulls showed why they need Rose so badly. C.J. Watson, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer were largely overwhelmed, Watson and Boozer defensively, Deng offensively, and the Chicago bench was roundly outclassed which almost never happens. Rose is the balance for this concoction, the maestro, and without him, things tend to fall down like dominoes for Chicago.

Rajon Rondo continues to be involved in trade discussions. This is madness, and it is not Sparta. Rondo is a prolific player in this league and makes everyone around him better. His jumper’s not great. You know, that same shot most of the big men in this league don’t have and half the time we scream at perimeter players for taking anyway. He creates, and creates, and creates. He deserves more credit.

Is Boston back? Far from it. The same feeling pervades this win as it did the Lakers loss. Are the Celtics a bad team? Absolutely not. Are they a great team? Absolutely not. They’re somewhere in between, they’re fine. And unless they get a lot better in the next two months, the Big 3 era will go out with a whimper, not a bang.

Because if they see Chicago in the playoffs, Derrick Rose will likely not be on the sidelines.

  1. drunkenjunk - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Great game by Rondo. I’m curious though why ainge is/was willing to trade him. I feel like he’s top 4 pg in the league and it would be very hard to replace a facilitator like him. I’ve heard he can be hard to deal w/ at times but i don’t really know. Anyone have anymore insight on the issues with him/celtics have with him?

  2. sneakd29 - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    I wonder if Rondo would u have done this against DRose? I’ll answer it for him hell no

  3. glink123 - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Terrible game. No offense, but the Celtics playing without Bass (12 ppg) and O’Neal (5 ppg) isn’t quite the same as the Bulls playing without Rose (22 ppg) and Hamilton (15 ppg). Do the math (20 ppg difference). That doesn’t even take into consideration Rose’s defensive contribution. Yes, I said defense. Rose doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his defensive effort he gives on a nightly basis. If you watch a Thibs- style defense, you’ll notice it isn’t dependent on a monster individual “stopper” mentality. His scheme depends on all 5 guys occupying a particular spot in the floor, with the intention of funneling a play to go towards a particular side of the floor. You’ll hear references from the better announcers in the league about how they all move like they’re connected by a long rope, sliding as a single unit. Until Boozer gets lazy and messes up. Boozer was pathetic today, and kudos to Van Gundy for calling him out repeatedly today for his sorry effort. CJ Watson was a huge disappointment defensively today on Rondo. They looked like a team playing their ninth straight road game, without their MVP leader.

    • jjordannba - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Rip Hamilton averaged 15 last year with the Pistons so dont throw that in there like he has it on the Bulls -its not a 20 point difference

  4. keyshawn22 - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Trading Rondo would be crazy. The only PGs better right now are Rose, D Williams and Paul. If wilcox and jajuan johnson can play like they did today when oneal and bass get back their bench will be decent, not great but decent. Joe Johnson making the all star team over Rondo is complete joke.

  5. isujames - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    ^Rondo can have a game like this @ anytime fella, where have you been???Oh i forgot, stuck up d. roses a$$!!!!

  6. glink123 - Feb 12, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Watson was a huge disappointment defensively. Rondo leads all NBA PGs with 4 turnovers per game. He also leads all NBA PGs at FT shooting deficiency, shooting 58 percent. Watson jacked up 24 shots, including forcing a ridiculous off-balanced 22-footer with 27 seconds left in the game, with 20 seconds left on the shot clock, with the Bulls trailing by 3. I had flashbacks to Vinny Del Negro coaching the team today. Sad.

  7. mcjon22 - Feb 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Rando is awesome…about 13 games a year. Mediocre and a terrible shooter for the rest of the games. There’s a reason Ainge wants to ship him out

  8. passerby23 - Feb 12, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    The thing that made the Celtics really good in ’08 and ’10 was their consistent execution. I don’t know if it’s so much age with this team as it is their maddening inconsistency. We saw that in the Laker game in which they had plenty of opportunities to put the game away and didn’t. Sloppy passing, missed open shots, missed box-outs.

    A big part of the reason why they struggle is Rondo’s inconsistency. When he’s on, they are an elite team. When he’s not, the offense bogs down, they commit bad turnovers, and they can lose to almost anyone. They are still a team you don’t want to face in the playoffs – probably a 6-8 seed – but without that consistent execution we used to see, it’s hard to imagine the Celtics beating any of the contending teams in a 7-game series. Oh, and Jeff Green would’ve helped their offense a lot.

  9. twoods6464 - Feb 12, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    With rose bulls still could have won that game

  10. losangelasbasketball - Feb 13, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    Why is this even in the sporting news? So rondo took advantage of a team in the regular season without their best player in the lineup…. Wooopidy doooo…..hes still a gaurd that cant shoot the j against my grandma…

  11. ackforever - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    As much as I love the Celtics I am done if they trade Rondo.

    Boston fans need to take a stand for Rondo. Boycot all homes games if talk of trading him gets serious. Show Ainge we are serious

    Ask yourself if you are willing to miss a few games if it meant keeping Rondo in Boston

  12. basketball34 - Feb 13, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    It’s news, losangelasbasketball, because Rondo had his second triple double in a season in which there has been a total only of six. Rondo’s 30-15-10 numbers have been posted only nine other times in 26 years. But kudos to your grandma for her defensive skills.

    Kayshawn22 has expressed the sentiments of probably most Celtics fans, while drunksjunk has asked a question that continues to be troubling in Boston. Ainge’s threatened trade(s) of Rondo/Pierce would probably not help this season, or even the rebuilding next year. There is a growing concern that Ainge has been and is the real problem; and his dismal record since the 2007 Garnett-Allen trade only renders more questionable his willingness to give up two of the most popular, most productive C’s for very little in return.

  13. basketball34 - Feb 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    It’s news, losangelasbasketball, because Rondo had his second triple double in an NBA season in which there has been a total of only six. Rondo’s 30-15-10 numbers have been posted only nine other times in the last 26 years. But kudos to your grandma on her defensive skills.

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