[Thanks to 'BULLieving in Miami' for today's game preview (sign up!). I, for one, do not endorse degrading all women by associating a lady-name with the despicable likes of Rajon Rondo -ed.]
I will use someone's suggestion and just state this: Rajon Randa can go hang himself.
Enjoy the game...
Thought that was going to be it, huh? Fortunately, there is a lot more to talk about in anticipation of tonight's matchup with the Beantowners. This is the second night of the Bulls' first back-to-back of the season; one of many they have scheduled. And before the game has been played, Bulls fans and the team itself are already feeling the effects. I made the unfortunate mistake of taking in last night's ballgame before writing this post, but hey, why write a preview if you're not up-to-the-minute on the goings on of the team.
It's already been debated heavily since the conclusion of last night's 120-112 loss to the KnickerBrickers (though they were far from it) whether Coach Tibs (or Thibs, or youts, or youths, or whatever) made the correct decision to keep his starters, namely Rose and Noah, on the bench during the "comeback" in the fourth quarter. Some would argue that the bench got them back in it, though I never consider a comeback as such unless it gets to within 5 or so, and so Thibs decided to ride the hot hands AKA rest his guys for tonight's game against his former employers.
Personally, I feel you should try to win every game, but if his philosophy was to pick between the two, especially considering how last night's game was playing out, and just rest his guys for the tougher opponent, I fear it will backfire. If anything, try to win the easier of the two matchups (home v. Knicks as opposed to @ Boston) especially since the Knicks were clearly shaken in the second half once the Bulls made their run(s). Instead, they marinate on this loss to a bitter rival (at least still to me after all these years) and it is interesting to see what frame of mind Rose and Noah are in for tonight's game. Will they feel shunned by their new coach who they have not had enough time with yet to gain complete and total respect for? What is their confidence like going into this game after losing to an inferior team (Landry Fields... really?)? More importantly, how does Luol Deng feel about how he's wasted six years of his career because of 12 inches? Surprisingly, he managed an ok game considering he shot 5-13 from the field, but his 3-4 from deep turned an inefficient 14 points on 13 shots into a decent 17 points on 13 shots.
On to tonight's key matchup: Rose versus Rondo. It seems this is going to be a debate on here for years to come until one of these two elite PGs clearly defines himself from the other. While Ronda does excel in many areas over Rose (better rebounder, defender,and dropping dimes at a Stocktonian clip), the reason why ultimately I choose Rose over Rondo every day of the week is simple: scoring ability. Rose just knows how to put the ball in the basket which makes him offensively independent. It will be interesting to see what Rondo looks like in about two years when the Big Stub, The Truth, and Jesus Shuttlesworth are either gone or retired. Rondo's game lends itself to be reliant on his teammates. The one stat he stands head and shoulders above everyone else, assists, is predicated on having teammates who know who to score efficiently and decisively. He just isn't a threat to score. A perfect example (and I wish I had a picture of it from that game) was opening night versus the Heat. In the 4th quarter when the game is in the balance, the Celtics are getting in their halfcourt set, and there is not one defender above the free throw line even remotely worried about Rondo hoisting up a shot. I immediately turned to my friend and said, "That is why I will always prefer Rose to Rondo. No one is even worried about that guy shooting" and then proceeded to rewinding the TV (what was the world like before DVR) so he could see again. He laughed. Same thing again the next trip down the court.
Essentially, the best part of Rondo's game, his passing, is almost negated in the most important moments of the game since its harder to pull off a pass when it seems everyone else on the court is doubled because of Rondo's man being a floating defender. Thus, the opposite can possibly be said about Rose in the same situation. His strength is scoring, and we have seen how teams constantly try to double him, and so it is encouraging to see his assist numbers up. He is learning the ability to pass in that situation, to find that open teammate, and he is learning to trust his teammates will make that shot (they do have to make to count as an assist, y'know). It only opens the game that much more for Rose. And in those dreaded situations when Rose doesn't have that quality of teammate around him, then we can rest assure knowing Rose can also handle it on his own and score by himself if need be. As much as this is a great matchup to watch, I believe ultimately we as Bulls fans settled that debate in our own heads long ago.
As far as the actual game, I no longer predict Celtics games. I thought they were done last year and figured the Heat pre-LeBroshaWade would beat them in the first round. I was immediately proven wrong and they marched into the Finals and almost won Game 7. So until I see KG and Pierce and Allen permanently in a suit or a different uniform, I will always give them the benefit of the doubt and opening night against the Heat solidified that sentiment for me. They've been together for 4 years now, they know how to play together and win together. So take it as you will. Now, if you're telling me Korver is starting at SG tonight, thats a different story.
CelticsBlog- go let our presence be known and tell them to tell "Sweet Potato" to stop drooling on himself.
7PM CDT on The Network (cue Darth Vader music)