ESPN’s basketball scribe Marc Stein caught up with several NBA scouts on his Weekend Dime, and one Eastern Conference scout didn’t have good things to say about the Boston’s chances against the Heat.
Eastern Conference scout on the ceiling for the Rajon Rondo-less Celtics:
“I’ll buy your [contention] that they’re playing happier without him, but when it comes down to the big games, you need a couple a-holes. And Rondo is the leading a-hole Boston has. He affects the game like nobody else.
“During the regular season, I agree, he plays for stats too much, but when it comes to the playoffs, he’s playing to win the game. He’s definitely a diva and he definitely has his issues, but who does Miami have to game-plan for if Rondo isn’t there? Paul Pierce is a warrior, but he’s only going to be able to play 15 top-level minutes out of 30. [Kevin Garnett] is a defensive specialist at this point in time. The totality of the Heat overtakes the totality of the Celtics when Rondo’s not there, but I still think he’s in Miami’s heads and the Celtics are in the Heat’s heads when the teams are at full strength.
“Without Rondo, Miami wins that series in five.”
Duly noted, Eastern Conference Scout, and you might be right. But given recent history, I’ll believe it when I see it.
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