Rondo can't get self, Celtics going in Game 6

Rondo can't get self, Celtics going in Game 6
May 24, 2012, 5:45 am
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PHILADELPHIA No matter how Rajon Rondo tried, he just could not find a hot hand (a luke warm one would have sufficed) to get the ball to for the Boston Celtics.

So when he tried to score on his own - and failed to do so repeatedly - it became clear that he too was in no flow or rhythm offensively.

And there lies the push-and-pull that Rondo - on most nights at least - seems to master.

But Game 6 wasn't Rondo's night - or the Celtics' night for that matter - as the C's drop a 82-75 Game 6 loss.

With Philadelphia's win, the Celtics and the Sixers will face off at the TD Garden on Saturday with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

And Rondo's final line on Wednesday - nine points, six assists and nine rebounds - was the kind you expect to see from in at the half.

"I don't know" was C's coach Doc Rivers' response when asked about Rondo's very un-Rondo-like game.

"He wanted to play well," Rivers added. "He attacked early and missed some shots. He probably got caught in between himself because he saw the offense wasn't working."

Boston shot 33 percent from the field and turned the ball over 17 times (for 19 points).

You want to know what a recipe for defeat looks like?

Shooting that poorly and turning the ball over that many times, is a start.

And when you consider so much of Rondo's game is dependent on others making shots, it's not all that surprising that the Celtics All-Star's numbers weren't nearly as impressive as they usually are.

"We had a lot of empty possessions," Rivers said.

And while Rondo isn't responsible for all that is wrong with the Celtics offense, his play - maybe as much as anyone on the roster - can impact the game significantly.

While Boston had its problems getting stops down the stretch, they still held the Sixers to just 82 points and even won the battle on the boards, 48-37.

There was certainly room for the defense to have been better, but the C's biggest issue on Wednesday was their offense - or lack of it.

And right or wrong, that responsibility ultimately falls under the duties of Rondo who has been arguably the most consistent player in this series.

Boston was within striking distance most of the night, but you never got the feeling that they were in total control.

Part of that had to do with Rondo, who normally makes a major impact on the game.

That wasn't the case on Wednesday as the Sixers seemed to have finally found a way to cool off the one player they seemingly never had an answer for until Wednesday.

Rivers thinks Rondo's biggest problem was simply trying to find that balance between getting his teammates going offensively, and looking for his own points.

"I thought he was trying to orchestrate the offense and try to go, and he probably got caught in the middle tonight," Rivers said. "It happens, but he'll be better."

He has to be if the Celtics want to win Game 7 and with it, advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

"Win or go home. Confidence is very high," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "We've been here before; very experienced. All out. Nothing less."