Monday, April 20, 2009

Rondo - Rose

The Celtics are in trouble without Garnett. Let me first acknowledge that. I don't see how they are getting past Orlando, and they have been unfortunate in drawing the only team in the 5-8 slots that have gotten hot at the end of the season.

But this emphasis on Derrick Rose's "arrival" in these playoffs is unjustified. I predicted aloud it would change by the second game, and wish I had recorded it here. But even in the first game, Rondo had the better game. Scoring points continues to be over-emphasized by sportswriters, perhaps only reflecting fan prejudice, which further reflects an emphasis on the most concrete of measurements versus the actual contribution of the player.

Rose had a very creditable first game with 36 points, 4 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, and 5 turnovers. He also fouled out. Larry Bird used to tally up his personal game score each night, which included not only his numbers in these categories, but the numbers of the man he was guarding. Stacking Rondo's numbers up against that (29 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover) it's a wash. Game score of 0 for both of them, and Rondo didn't foul out.

The second game, Rose had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, no steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers. A very decent game, but leaving him with a Larry Bird game score of minus 27 versus Rondo, who had 19 points, 12 rebounds, 16 assists, 5 steals, 0 blocks, and 2 turnovers. Minus 27 is simply huge.

The Celtics lost the first game because Ray Allen and Eddie House shot very poorly. They almost lost the second game because Eddie House shot poorly again. You can attribute this partially to the Chicago defense, but mostly, it's law of averages.

I like Derrick Rose, and I think he's going to be great. But Rondo has severely outplayed him in this series so far.


Ben Wyman said...

See, you're looking at the stats and not watching the game, and I think that changes perception. Statistically, you're right, but in game one, as good as Rondo was, the Celtics didn't have any answer for Rose. It was terrifying whenever he went to the hoop. No one else on the team was in rhythm, and he won them the game anyway. And while statistically Rose's line was unbalanced compared to Rondo, the reason Gordon had 41 that game was that he created those shot opportunities.

Rondo's been stronger this series than Rose, and he's the reason we've won the last two, but we simply had nothing we could do to stop Rose that first game. Even when in the zone, Rondo doesn't seem to have that quality about him.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I like imagining the game my way better.