Doc Rivers said he anticipates Dwyane Wade will defend Rajon Rondo tonight.
The Celtics, then, have to also make Wade work harder at the other end, though he is expected to guard Rajon Rondo instead of Ray Allen – reprising the Kobe Bryant role from the 2008 Finals, when the Lakers guard helped off Rondo and dared the Celtics point guard to hit jump shots.
“I don’t care one way or the other,” said coach Doc Rivers. “If he guards Rondo, which we anticipate, he still has to chase Rondo. There will be movement and picks. Even though they use a guy on Rondo so he can be the roamer, that still works. Either way around it, he has to work (on defense).
“But the guys who are great penetrators like Wade . . are tough because they have the ball in their hands. They run to the ball off of screens and get the ball on the floor. Those guys are very difficult because they’re getting to the paint. You can’t have turnovers. Against Miami it’s an automatic two points. . . . If they get Wade in the open court he is scoring. There’s not an if to that.”
Rivers did a good job explaining it: Rondo would certainly have a tougher time driving by Wade than Carlos Arroyo, and it would free up Wade to be a defensive roamer similar to how the Lakers often use Kobe Bryant when they play the C’s. On the other hand, Wade would have to conserve more energy trying to keep Rondo in front of him, and it could possibly affect his offensive outcome.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: The Miami Sun Sentinel thinks it will be Arroyo, not Wade, who will be Rondo’s primary defender.
Spoelstra calls Rondo a “game changer,’” and must be squeezed in the lane so he is forced to “spray,” the ball out. Wade says he’s, a “roamer” and “quick as lightning,” but it will be primarily Arroyo’s job to contain him.
“Basically, he’s a better driver than a shooter,” Arroyo said. “He’s the head of their snake and will do whatever it takes to help that team win. . . . Everybody has to help. He tries to fill up the stat sheet.”