BOSTON If you're Doc Rivers, you love seeing Rajon Rondo aggressive and attacking the rim. But at the same time, you like to see good ball movement, too.
There's a certain balancing act to it all, and on Wednesday night the Celtics were, without question, out of sync.
Rondo went off for a career-high 35 points, but shoddy defense and poor ball movement proved too big an obstacle to overcome as the Celtics suffered a 98-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
"Offensively, I didn't like the way we played all night," Rivers said. "Wasn't a lot of movement. I'd like Rondo being aggressive but . . . we didn't get a lot of ball movement."
Part of that had to do with Rondo doing a lot of his scoring either in the post against the Detroit guards, or pulling up for jumpers in transition or with the shot clock winding down.
Paul Pierce, maybe more than any Celtic player, seemed unable to get into any kind of flow or rhythm all game. He had 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting.
When your best scorer can't get going, winning becomes a much more daunting task.
"Rondo got the hot hand and took the shots that were there when they sagged off of him," Pierce said. "When the shots were there, he took them. We went to the post a lot to Rondo and it caused a lot of isolation. That was the game plan."
Far too often, isolation plays result in very little movement without the ball, which leads to a lack of ball movement.
Still, it's hard to be too hard on Rondo after a career-night scoring, and doing it in such an unorthodox manner.
The idea of 6-foot-1 Rondo going to work in the post - and it working - is a sight seldom seen.
And while Rivers liked what he saw from Rondo in terms of his overall aggressive nature, he would have liked to have seen more of it in transition and less in the half court sets.
"That's when you get the ball to the other guys," said Rivers, who repeatedly said that the team's defense an even bigger issue against Detroit. "The way to really stay aggressive in transition is off defensive stops. And in the first half that's how we did it; in the second half we were not getting stops. I thought that affected how effective he was, as well."