As the Celtics wake up Wednesday morning they must find a way to stretch their series against the Miami Heat to another game.
Sure the Celtics must stretch the series in retrospect to two more games, but the Celtics will have to play each game with the mindset of one game at a time.
At moments in this series the Celtics have looked very good on offense. Case and point the 31 points they scored in the first 12 minutes of Game 4. Other times the Celtics have looked terrible on offense. Case and point the 59 points the Celtics scored in the following 41 minutes of Game 4.
As the Celtics played through a terrible overtime in which they shot a dismal 1-6 from the floor scoring a pathetic 4 points many fans were left wondering if this is it for the Big 3 era.
Even the most positive Celtics fan knows it will be tough for the green to advance in this series. The Celtics will have to have everything clicking for them if they want to even force another game in the series. This means they need to get efforts from their superstars.
It seems as though to win the three superstars for the Celtics have to each have an effective game. In Game 1 Ray Allen scored 25 points but Pierce and Garnett only managed 19 and 6 points respectively. This was a big reason why the Heat took a quick 1-0 lead in the series.
After an average showing by the Big 3 in a Game 2 loss, the Celtics came out of the locker room in Game 3 on a mission. The mission was accomplished when Garnett, Pierce and Allen had 28,27 and 17 points respectively.
In Game 4, Pierce came through with an impressive 27 points but the captain didn’t get much help from Allen (17 points) and Garnett who had probably the worst playoff game of his Hall of Fame career, scoring only 7 points on 1-10 shooting.
The question to be raised is if the Celtics Big 3 aren’t all scoring in the 20s then where will the offense come from? The usual suspect is Rajon Rondo, but after dislocating his elbow in Game 3, can he really be relied on to give you big offensive numbers. The simple answer is no.
Before this crazy proposition is brought up, get one thing straight I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rondo have another superhuman game Wednesday night. But to rely on a point guard who can barely dribble with his left arm is asking far to much, and when it comes down to it, Rondo’s play throughout Game 4 hurt the Boston Celtics.
This is why Doc Rivers must make one of the boldest moves of his coaching career on Wednesday night. This move involves starting Delonte West over Rondo.
This might get Celtics fans in an uproar but hear me out.
Delonte West out of all the bench players has had some type of imprint on this series. West is averaging 10 points a game on a little over than 23 minutes per game.
These numbers don’t jump out at you but if West can somehow up his minutes to 31-36 minutes he will be more useful then a one-armed Rondo.
It was obvious as Game 4 dwindled down that Rondo wasn’t going to be a factor. Sure Rondo had 10 points in 5 assists, but in the big scheme of things, the Miami Heat will take those numbers from Rondo all night.
Anyone who has watched the Celtics this year knows that most teams play off Rondo, not respecting his jump shot, and for good reason. On Monday night Miami played off Rondo even more than usual, daring him to take a one handed jump shot from the foul line and beyond.
As Rondo’s man played off of him, the Heat defense was able to collapse to the paint quicker. This is a big reason why Kevin Garnett wasn’t able to get his low post game going.
Everytime Garnett received the ball in the post he had little room to create space and put up a decent shot. Plain and simple if Rondo is in the game, Garnett can not be as effective as he wants to be.
Delonte West on the other hand will be able to help the Celtics sputtering offense. Although not as accurate a passer as Rondo, as evidenve with his crucial overtime turnover, West still provides a steady hand at the point guard position.
West is an obvious 3-point threat for the Celtics. If West is on the court with a lineup of Allen, Pierce, Garnett and whomever at center, you will have four high quality shooters at your disposal.
Just imagine if Glen Davis could play center in that lineup they would have five shooters on the floor all at once. Unfortunately Davis is vacationing in Aruba while this series is going on. Oh, wait he isn’t….nevermind.
Delonte West also offers the Celtics a very smart, hard-nosed defender. West will never be mistaken for a healthy Rajon Rondo, but if you want to compare West on the defensive end to a one-armed Rondo, then Delonte gets the edge.
West repeatedly harassed Dwayne Wade throughout the fourth quarter of Game 4 helping the Celtics stay in the game. West’s energy on the defensive end forced the Heat to take contested shots with the shot clock dwindling down.
An argument could be made that if Delonte West is starting then who does Rivers go to on the bench to backup at the point and the shooting guard positions.
Look for Rivers to play his guys like he did in Game 7 of last years Finals. There is no tomorrow if the Celtics lose this game, expect all the starters to get huge minutes on the court.
A quick fix to get West and Allen rest would be to put Rondo in or even, gulp, Carlos Arroyo, to spell a few minutes for the starters. Rivers would have to have either Pierce or Allen on the court at all times something I’m sure the veterans wouldn’t mind.
The Celtics must view this game like this is the last game of their careers. Rivers must push all the right buttons if the Celtics are to take Game 5.
Delonte West isn’t the savior for this team, he has his flaws. Unfortunately once Rondo went down with that nasty dislocated elbow in Game 3, things changed for this team. It may not be the most fan friendly move, but starting Delonte West would be the best move if the Celtics want to return to Boston for a Game 6 Friday night.