Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
After a week in which we all spent too much time overanalyzing Birthdaygate, one of the takeaways should have been that Rondo is simply a little different than most — and that’s what makes him Rondo. Sometimes his actions get him in trouble, but it’s also not hard to see why his teammates enjoy playing with him.
Watching Rondo on Saturday night, we were reminded of how former Celtics coach Doc Rivers used to invoke Red Auerbach’s name when noting how the Celtics have always put a premium on instigators (and not retaliators). Rondo’s play naturally gets under the skin of opponents and threatens to derail them mentally. There’s no stat that can quantify the chaos he causes.
Reminded of their dust-up after Saturday’s game, Humphries was asked what it’s been like to play with Rondo this season. Humphries, who joked earlier this season that the two had let teammates vote on who would win in a fight, played along again.
“It’s been good,” Humphries said. “We’re trying to figure out a time to get in a boxing ring or something, see who’s actually tougher.”
With his size and reach, Humphries would seemingly have the advantage in a fictional bout. But Rondo always seems to find a way to win the mind games.
I had a Twitter argument about Rondo and Red Auerbach where it was posited to me that Rondo wouldn’t last a week with Red.
I couldn’t disagree more. The Doc reference in this morning’s Forsberg piece rekindled that thought.
Let’s start with Jay’s piece on Rondo from last week where he laid out a lot of the warts other Celtics greats have displayed over time. Then take into account Dennis Johnson’s reputation before getting to Boston, and you’ll see that Doc is right on with his assessment. Gerald Wallace has a similar take:
“I think you’ve got to be your own person,” Wallace said. “I think that’s what makes him so special. You don’t want him to change. I think the main thing is you don’t want him to be fake. You want what you get from him to be real. And I think as much as he’s a pain in the (butt) sometimes, it’s real.
“I’ve gotten to know him and really understand him. It’s just his competitiveness and his will to fight and want to win. . . . He doesn’t like to lose, and that’s the type of guy that you want to play with.”
I don’t want to turn this into a big Rondo diatribe. We’ve been through it all over and over again, but if you’re anti-Rondo, just don’t project that on everyone in C’s history. Red Auerbach has a history of working with guys like Rondo. And don’t forget, our patriarch was a bit of a prick himself. I mean, the guy lit victory cigars on the bench… he’s not beyond playing mind games.
I’ll leave it at that. If you want to hear our full reaction to the Rondo mess of the past week, you can download the latest episode of Celtics Stuff Live. The last half hour was spent on Rondo, and it includes a pair of rants on the overreaction from last week. The first 90 minutes of the show were spent on which injuries worry us the most, Philly’s obvious tank-job, my fear of drafting Joel Embiid (seriously) and more.
Page 2: Sully may stay on the bench for a while
After having missed three games with a mild concussion, Jared Sullinger found himself coming off the bench in the Celtics’ Saturday’s 102-97 loss to Indiana.
As it turns out, Sullinger might be in a similar role going forward. When asked about when Sullinger would be moved back into the starting unit, head coach Brad Stevens kept open the possibility that Sullinger would remain a reserve.
“Well, I don’t know about the starting lineup thing,” Stevens said.
In his absence, the Celtics have gone with a big man combination of Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries.
“We’ll go from, we’ll kind of play that the way we’ve played it and continue to play those … when Kelly (Olynyk) gets back all four of those guys and also Joel (Anthony).”
I get the feeling that Stevens doesn’t want Sully to feel entitled to a starting role. It’s just a hunch on this, because the C’s are just flat-out better when Sullinger is on the floor. But Sullinger is young, and he’s already needed a talking to from his dad to get his mind right this season. Stevens may just want to keep the kid hungry.
There’s also a matter of consistency that might be in play. Part of it might be that Bass and Humphries have been able to stay healthy, but the future of the Celtics may include Sullinger and Olynyk playing together a lot. So maybe this is more like a hockey substitution thing and Stevens can put the Bass/Humphries pairing out for a shift and then bring in the Sullinger/Olynyk line.
With 22 games left, Stevens can really start to put 2013-14 in the rear view mirror and start working more on combinations that will get time next year.
If that just so happens to cost us a few games, so be it.
Related links: Globe: Sullinger aided by father’s counsel
The rest of the links:
Herald: Rich get richer, do buyouts make them better? | Collins set for home debut in Brooklyn | Globe: Taking a charge should be outlawed in basketball | CSNNE: Stevens on Sox & his Boston counterparts