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.