Rondo, Celtics find success in limiting Lin

Rondo, Celtics find success in limiting Lin
March 5, 2012, 12:49 am
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BOSTON Once again Jeremy Lin was the center of attention, something the 6-foot-3 guard for the New York Knicks is getting used to.

But as he's quickly discovering, it's not just the fans keeping close tabs on him - so are opponents.

Limiting his effectiveness was certainly part of the Boston Celtics' game plan.

For the most part it worked, as the Celtics escaped with a 115-11 overtime win.

And Lin, the Harvard educated playmaker that has taken the NBA - the world, for that matter - by storm, had 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting from the field.

Not bad numbers, but certainly not as good as the numbers he has been posting since his breakout performance against New Jersey on Feb. 4 - the day after six not-so-memorable minutes in a 91-89 loss to the C's.

Rajon Rondo, who had his fourth triple-double of the season with 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists, said defending Lin was part of their game plan against New York.

"He got into early foul trouble and that's what my intentions were early; just to try to go at him and be aggressive and try to get him out of the game," Rondo said.

Said Lin: "Two quick fouls and that's going to hurt rhythm and momentum, but that's not really an excuse in the second half. I had plenty of time to get comfortable."

But the Celtics defense wasn't having any of that, forcing 22 turnovers - six of which were committed by Lin.

"We just wanted to put pressure on him," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Take him off his right hand, which I thought we allowed him to get to his right late in the game."

And while there were certainly a number of fans that booed him consistently, Lin had a solid group of fans in attendance as well.

"I'm thankful to all the fans that came out," Lin said. "I definitely heard them and definitely felt the energy; very thankful for that."

Fans aren't the only ones motivated to see him up close and personal.

New Jersey's Deron Williams made no secret about how it bothered him that many fans either by social media or by way of yelling it during games, were on his back about the Knicks' win over New Jersey on Feb. 4 that would become Lin's launching pad to stardom.

In that game, Lin had a then-career high 25 points and seven assists off the bench in the Knicks' 99-92 win. In that game, Williams wasn't too shabby either, finishing with 21 points and 11 assists.

"I don't really watch too many games, but I do see Twitter," Williams told reporters after New Jersey's 100-92 win over New York on Feb. 20. "And every three lines was, 'Jeremy Lin destroys Deron Williams' in the first game. So I definitely took offense to that."

In the Feb. 20 rematch, he had 38 points which included a run of 12 straight points in the third quarter.

Although Rondo has a tendency to downplay such one-on-one battles, at least one of his teammates recognized he was more locked in than usual, for the Knicks game.

"The thing about Lin is, I think everybody at the point guard position is going to be excited to play the kid, and 'Do' (Rondo) was nothing short of that," said Kevin Garnett. "I could tell; I've been around him when he's motivated and when he's more than motivated. Tonight was one of those nights."

Lin will see Rondo and the Celtics at least one more time (April 17 in New York) this season. And while opponents have ratcheted up their play from one game to the next one against Lin, he hopes to do the same moving forward.

"Obviously Boston is a very good defensive team and hopefully as I play them a couple more times, I'll get more comfortable," Lin said.