First off, let me say that I love Rajon Rondo. Everything he’s done for us over the years has been simply remarkable. Coming back from a gruesome injury in game 3 was heroic. But as great as that was, it was only game 3. He had to come back and play two days later, and without the adrenaline flying through his blood stream. So what does that leave us with? Two words. Delonte. West. He has been our most consistent player in this series hands down and, with the exception of maybe Pierce, has been the only one playing with a purpose out there.
Even when Rondo has two healthy arms Delonte has a much, much better shot and is probably the only person, aside from Pierce, again, that can create his own shot. Miami plays off of him so much that, I believe, he lost us game 4. I hate to say it, but it’s true. (Kevin Garnett going 1-10 doesn’t help either). You could clearly see Miami’s game plan. Force him left and make him do awkward things with his left arm. That killed the whole flow of our offense. If your point guard can’t dribble with two hands, you aren’t going to win. That simple. I know Doc’s a loyal guy and everything, but unless his arm has miraculously healed I say it’s not even worth playing him. Maybe throw Delonte in there to start, with Arroyo backing him up who, in case you forgot, was Miami’s starting point guard on opening night and should know their system pretty well.
This clearly isn’t me bashing Rondo in any way…it’s just the logical thing to do. I mean, what do we have to lose? If it doesn’t work then we lose and go home, which is almost anticipated at this point. But what if it works? What if we rally three straight wins? Then Rondo would have had over a week of rest to prepare for the next round and Doc would look like a genius.
It’s do or die at this point and we need some kind of spark. I don’t know what that spark is. Maybe play Jeff Green 25+ minutes so he can really get in the flow of the game like he was used to at OKC. You can see him slowly getting more and more comfortable with the system and, if he is our future, let’s ride it out with him. We need some young legs out there who aren’t fat and slow. That would be you Big Baby. Baby’s the man but there comes a point in time when your little dipsy-dos around the basket aren’t going to work. It looks to me like defenses have figured him out. I hope I’m wrong but who the hell knows. Also, like I stated earlier, maybe see if Troy Murphy can come in and hit a couple threes, maybe get the team going. Considering Shaq is virtually useless out there, I don’t see why not.
So let’s sum it up. If I were Doc Rivers, here’s what I would do with the rotation for game 4.
Starters: Jermaine, KG, Pierce, Ray, and Delonte with Delonte playing all Rondo’s minutes, the big three playing as much as usual, and Jermaine playing his 20-25 minutes.
Off the bench: J Green, roughly 25 or 30 minutes. Big Baby playing only about 15 or so. Then throw Arroyo out there to spell Delonte for about 10 minutes and ride or die with Troy Murphy for a few first half minutes, giving KG/Jermaine a few extra minutes to rest. Unless, of course, Shaq can actually play about 15-20 minutes which seems like a humongous long shot.
Crunch time: Big three plus Delonte with J Green out there if Miami has their usual small lineup with James Jones on the floor, or if they have Joel Anthony or one of their rotating centers then play Jermaine.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m terrified about game 5. All of this nonsense I just wrote could be completely useless if we play the same as game 4, but we actually get something from KG, Baby, or Ray. I don’t know. I just don’t want to hear one more person say this is a “hockey town” now….because that will just anger me. Thank you and good night.