The word nightmare was thrown around a lot to describe the Celtics brutal loss to the Nets at home tonight. I’d prefer something with more pizzazz like “Rondocalypse,” but that seems overdramatic even for me (plus, thats so awesome we should save that for a good game) so I’ll just call it horrific and leave it at that. There’s not going to be any silver lining tonight, the Celtics endured a brutal loss to a divisional opponent at home, and probably lost their point guard for a few more games in the process. Let’s get to the recap:
- Rondo‘s assist streak went crashing into the ground along with 230 lbs. of Kris Humphries when the Celtics starting PG was ejected following a scuffle (I mean it wasn’t really a brawl, can you have a 10 man scuffle?) that spilled into the stands. On one hand, it’s nice to see Rondo stand up for his teammate, and a team seemed to be lacking any semblance of attitude or competitive fire certainly got an injection of it tonight. On the other hand, Rondo dun goofed, and he knew it. Given his recent history (2 suspensions in the past year), the proximity to the crowd, and that a punch appeared to be thrown it seems likely Rondo will be suspended. While I’m sorry this is how it had to end I’m glad the assist streak is over. When it started I felt like it gave a Rondo a goal and helped him find consistency in his game, but lately it felt more like a constraint than a guide. There will be other streaks for Rondo, and this one was impressive while it lasted.
- Lost in the emotions of the night and the ejections that followed was that the Celtics played like crap all night. The Celtics D was somewhat improved as thye held the Nets to 40% shooting, but they got absolutely shelled by the corpse of Jerry Stackhouse from deep (seriously, he just stood in the corner and rained death on the C’s all game). On a night where the Celtics forgot how to play offense for long periods of time, that was more than enough to earn the Nets the W.
- Paul Pierce tried to take over the game after Rondo’s ejection, which did not work at all. Pierce posted the ugliest 14-9-7 line of all time (with 5 turnovers), shooting 4-13 from the field and 6-11 from the line. If (when?) Rondo is suspended Pierce is not going to be able to consistently initiate the offense in his absence. The C’s can still run their sets through KG in the post, but his minutes being closely monitored one of the Celtics guards will have to step up their game in Rondo’s absence
- The Celtics may be without more than just their point guard for a game or two. Wilcox left early due to sickness tonight, Courtney Lee banged his wrist/elbow (he said that he was fine after the game), and Jeff Green sprained his knee and will be evaluated tomorrow. If Green or Lee miss time Kris Joseph might get a call up from the D-League for his first non-garbage time NBA action. It’s possible Fab Melo might get a call up as well given how unproductive Collins was in Wilcox’s absence tonight.
- Doc Rivers dropped a bomb on the team in his post-game press conference, calling them soft. Doc clearly expressed his disappointment with Rondo’s actions and his team’s lack of toughness. Doc made it clear that there are ways to be tough that don’t involve fighting Kris Humphries, and that there’s more to being a Celtic than just putting on the uniform.
Regardless of how you feel about Rondo’s actions tonight one thing is true: getting in fights doesn’t win basketball games. Instead, the Celtics are going to have to look inward to find the toughness they’ve been sorely lacking this season. They can start by showing up to Friday’s game against Portland where the Celtics will face sensational rookie point guard Damian Lillard, likely without Rajon Rondo to guard him.
Follow Jordan on Twitter: @OffensiveG