Atlanta Hawks: Reining in Rondo

BOSTONRajon Rondo had a triple-double in Game 3 but his 0.57 points per possession were worst on the team, according to Synergy Sports Technology. So Jeff Teague isn’t wrong when he says of Rondo: “He’s going to penetrate. He’s a good player. Some plays you have to live with. Just like guys on our team are going to make plays and they have to live with it. There’s a reason he’s one of the best point guards in the league.”

Here’s a closer look at Rondo’s plays in Game 3. Per my Synergy review, a chart of the 32 possessions Rondo used (FGA, FTA and turnovers, not including his two FTA when he was intentionally fouled in the final moments):

1st quarter

  • Rondo got to the basket when Kirk Hinrich helped on Paul Pierce, who was two steps ahead of Joe coming off a screen. But Rondo missed after Hinrich recovered and challenged his shot.
  • Rondo faked using a screen to his left, prompting Hinrich to step under it. Rondo stepped back to his right to shoot but missed as Hinrich managed to challenge.
  • Rondo posted up Hinrich but lost the ball when Hinrich reached around and poked it away.
  • Rondo collected the loose ball after Hinrich nearly stole it, then was fouled by Collins on a layup attempt. Rondo made both free throws.
  • Rondo sailed a pass over Greg Stiemsma’s head.
  • Rondo tried to blow past Hinrich in transition but Hinrich anticipated it and forced a Rondo miss (it looked as though Hinrich actually may have gotten a piece of the ball but no block was credited).

Second quarter

  • Rondo went around a Kevin Garnett screen as Hinrich stumbled while going under it, but Hinrich recovered and stripped Rondo of the ball as he started his move to the basket.
  • Rondo made a bad bounce pass to Ray Allen and then charged into Ivan Johnson after collecting Allen’s wild pass to save the ball from going out of bounds.

Third quarter

  • Rondo scored a layup off a screen when Teague went way under a Garnett screen and then hesitated to get back over it as Garnett rolled to the basket with Jason Collins.
  • Rondo rubbed Hinrich off a Garnett screen but missed a corner 3-point attempt as Hinrich recovered to challenge.
  • Rondo missed an open 20-footer as Hinrich went under Garnett’s screen and was late to challenge. (Dominique Wilkins on the call: “You’ll give him that shot all night.”)
  • Rondo missed an open 18-footer on what appeared to be a broken play from the Celtics: both Pierce and Garnett were trying to set a pick. Hinrich went under them both and conceded the shot.
  • Rondo tried to get to the basket past Hinrich on the secondary break but Hinrich swiped at the ball a Rondo went up to force the miss.
  • Rondo isolated Jannero Pargo and overpowered him for a layp.
  • Rondo got past Pargo in transition but missed a rushed jumper as the third-quarter buzzer sounded.

Fourth quarter

  • Rondo got careless with the ball while holding it out with one hand to survey the court and Pargo poked it away for a steal.
  • Rondo scored on a layup after Pargo got taken out by a Garnett screen and Dampier failed to show at all.
  • Rondo scored on the break after Pierce poked the ball away from Tracy McGrady (Teague did well to chase down Rondo and challenge but Rondo scored on a nifty reverse layup).
  • Rondo scored a layup off the pick-and-roll layup after Teague prematurely jumped under Garnett’s screen (though it did appear Garnett hooked Teague to prevent him from recovering).
  • Rondo missed a 20-footer after Teague went under Garnett’s screen but was able to challenge because of his quickness and leaping ability.
  • Rondo’s layup attempt after an offensive rebound was blocked by Joe.
  • Rondo missed a runner over Collins on the scrambled possession that followed Joe’s blocked shot.
  • Rondo missed an iso layup when Teague recovered from a trailing position and used his leaping ability to challenge.

Overtime

  • Rondo scored a layup after rubbing Teague off a Garnett screen (Teague recovered from the screen but then Rondo reversed course, snaked to the basket and scored on a nifty scoop shot.)
  • Rondo posted up Teague and dropped in a hook shot over him.
  • Rondo missed a layup in transition after he stole Collins’ pass (it appeared Rondo simply lost his footing when planting).
  • Rondo missed an isolation jumper late in shot clock against tight defense by Teague, who wouldn’t allow Garnett space to set a screen.
  • Rondo, isolated against Teague, used a fake to get free for a layup–he missed when Collins challenged, but that left Garnett to dunk the rebound and essentially finish off the Hawks.

And here’s a chart of the three Rondo assists that were the direct result of his penetration:

Third quarter

  • Hinrich helped on Pierce coming off a screen, Rondo cut to the basket and then fed Bass for a dunk when Marvin Williams helped.

Fourth quarter

  • Rondo got by Pargo on a superb spin move and then hit Pierce in the corner for a 3 when McGrady came off Pierce to help.
  • Rondo thwarted a trap attempt by Teague and Dampier and got to the basket with both defenders trailing. Garnett popped out for a long 2.


Takeaways:

  1. Hinrich should guard Rondo whenever possible, especially when this can be done without Teague having to check Allen.
  2. Pargo should not guard Rondo whenever possible.
  3. The player guarding Rondo should generally go under screens while being careful not to get tangled up with Garnett, who is a master at getting away with moving screens and hooks.
  4. Josh Smith by far is the best screen-roll defensive partner for whichever teammate is guarding Rondo. He makes going under screens more feasible because he can help and get back to Garnett. If Josh plays, perhaps he should guard KG down the stretch.

Teague didn’t necessarily agree with No. 3.

“It’s difficult to guard someone that’s that fast and you have to go under screens so deep,” Teague said. “He’s been going against that kind of defense his whole life. I’m pretty sure he’s perfected people guarding him that way. When you’ve got guys like ‘KG’ who can pick-and-pop and Brandon Bass who can make shots, it’s pretty tough.”

Teague obviously is quick enough to stay in front of Rondo and athletic enough to recover and challenge Rondo’s shot after he dives under screens. But in Game 3 he wasn’t always aggressive in doing either.

“He’s played very well,” Drew said of Teague. “Offensively when he’s attacking obviously we are a different ballclub. I just need him to pick up his defense much more. He’s defending a guy who is one of the better point guards in this league in Rondo. It’s just a matter of stepping up to the challenge. He’s not going to shut him down but he’s got to make things more difficult for him.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

108 comments Add your comment

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 6th, 2012
2:37 pm

Buddy Grizzard

May 6th, 2012
2:38 pm

Hawks are +13 for the series with Hinrich on the floor, -18 with Green and -20 with Pargo:

http://www.hoopinionblog.com/2012/05/return-on-investment-kirk-hinrich.html

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 6th, 2012
2:39 pm

“He’s played very well,” Drew said of Teague. “Offensively when he’s attacking obviously we are a different ballclub. I just need him to pick up his defense much more. He’s defending a guy who is one of the better point guards in this league in Rondo. It’s just a matter of stepping up to the challenge. He’s not going to shut him down but he’s got to make things more difficult for him.”

What does LD have to say about Marvin or isbhe not allowed to criticize him? Teague was a top 2 player for us on Fri

DawgNole

May 6th, 2012
2:40 pm

bigdave
May 6th, 2012
12:46 pm

Agreed dawgnole and jeje..

I just don’t think the natl media understands or care to consider the dynamic between fan support and solid team mgt/ownership. It begins with trust, and for years the intentions ofour loal team owners have always been questioned. If the top tier athletes and coaches can avoid our team b/c of the onership situation and it be understandable to the media, then why can’t the local fans?
________________________

Well capsuled. I still believe that if the team will simply show progress from year to year (i.e., make it past Round 2), the fans will come, they’ll far outnumber the “enemy” fans in our home arena, and they’ll be LOUD. But the same ol’ crap and sorry excuses year after year after year blah blah blah breed apathy and give the fans nothing to rally around. As you’ve said here, there’s a lot of trust involved, and the trust of ATL fans has been betrayed over and over again. It’s way past time for the team’s ownership to make a decent effort to regain that trust.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 6th, 2012
2:41 pm

LD never criticizes Marvin or Joe. Those dudes always get free passes.

Everything is always Teague or Smoove’s fauls

Buddy Grizzard

May 6th, 2012
3:02 pm

Willie Green was +22 for the season against lottery teams, -97 against playoff teams. Is it any surprise to anyone that the Hawks have been outscored by 18 with Green on the floor?

terrell

May 6th, 2012
3:07 pm

Why is it always about Teague. What a the 120 mill 4 man, and big hugga butt Marvin? Do they not need to ’step up”? Fu.. LD!

yodaddybrother

May 6th, 2012
3:07 pm

The way to slow Rondo….pray to the Basketball Gods

Najeh Davenpoop

May 6th, 2012
3:07 pm

FTPB

“Its just not fair nor logical to blame the fans for the teams performance, it seems like lazy journalism. especially when they use the injury bug as a crutch for these other overrated and gased teams getting waxed this playoffs..”

Stephen A Smith defines lazy journalism.

Buddy Grizzard

May 6th, 2012
3:07 pm

Jannero Pargo was +59 for the season against lottery teams, -19 for the season against playoff teams. Is anybody the least bit surprised that the Hawks have been outscored by 20 points with Pargo on the floor against Boston?

Just Joe

May 6th, 2012
3:09 pm

Green and Pargo need to be held out til the second round. They can help against a team like Philly. Boston is just a bad matchup for small guards with weak handles.

terrell

May 6th, 2012
3:09 pm

Correction:
Why is it always about Teague? What about the 100 mill $ man, and big hugga butt Marvin? Do they not need to “step up”? Fu.. LD! Cant even type I’m so mad at that clown.

steven a smith

May 6th, 2012
3:15 pm

Clearly the Atlanta Hawks are extremely talented, however, I have said it time and time again, your “LEAD DOG” for lack of a better phrase, must come up Big when the game is on the line.
Clearly JOE “Mr. Inconsistent”johnson, is not the LEAD DOG they paid him to be….

Just Joe

May 6th, 2012
3:15 pm

Start McGrady with Hinrich subbing for him and Teague. Marvin subs for Joe and McGrady only. Ivan needs to go 40+ tonight. Get what you can out of Collins and Damp. Lead the way, Jeff Teague.

Need a big win tonight. Go Hawks.

steven a smith

May 6th, 2012
3:19 pm

It’s going to take some kid of “Devine Intervention” for these Hawks to get out of the 1st round. I am not a Paul Peirce fan, HOWEVER, he has more HEART than all combined Hawk starters.., including
Al”can’t protect the rim” Horford.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
3:21 pm

Great brerakdown by MC.

I love the fact that instead of giving us some generic story on Game 4 right now, he took the time to address who is more effective in guarding Rondo. Give us something to type about for the next 3 hours.

Collins and Dampier’s lack of foot speed is definitely an issue on the pick and roll/pop. Guys like Josh and Ivan would be better equipped to stop that play. But the Celtics would simply adjust by going at Ivan with KG.

It’s definitely a delicate balance defending this team. If anything, Teague could maybe pressure Rondo as soon as he gets past half court, to run a few more seconds down before the Celtics can get into their offense.

With Pargo giving us nothing offensively, there;s no way he should’ve been out on the floor going into the 4th quarter. But that is what Drew does. He’s an offensive coach that understands that defense wins . . . but he tries to win by encouraging horrible defensive players to play defense. It’s like asking Kyle Korver to stop JJ.

steven a smith

May 6th, 2012
3:22 pm

Stats are for “LOSERS” PERIOD!!!

Buddy Grizzard

May 6th, 2012
3:07 pm

O'brien

May 6th, 2012
3:22 pm

Good writeup MC.

There was a blogger who did not give Hinrich credit for making Rondo work. I wonder if this will change their mind.

FTPB,

northcyde,

Maybe an Atlanta – Miami Eastern Conference Final will finally get regular basketball fans in ATL to actually root for the Hawks..

Regular basketball fans would root for the Heat.

But I give the majority of the blame to the ASG and their marketing department.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 6th, 2012
3:22 pm

“I love the fact that instead of giving us some generic story on Game 4 right now, he took the time to address who is more effective in guarding Rondo. Give us something to type about for the next 3 hours.”

Shots fired as Vivlamore I see.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 6th, 2012
3:23 pm

yodaddybrother

May 6th, 2012
3:24 pm

I agree with Just Joe…Green & Pargo are basically spot up shooters that can OCCASIONALLY create a shot. However they are both small for their positions making them liabilities on defense. The problem is that they are forced to be the creators on the second unit. That leads to heavy stagnation and turnovers.

Boston’s size in the frontcourt allows them to single cover Joe Johnson or T-Mac. They also most likely won’t double Josh Smith either so the spot up threes are few and far between.

When they are in the game they either have to chase Ray Allen around (not a good idea), guard Rondo (yeah right we saw end of 3rd beginning of 4th GAme 2) or guard Paul Pierce (lunch and dinner time for Pierce) basically validating the ineffectiveness of their time on the court.

This would all be moot if Marvin Williams played worth a damn but at this point he is what he is and that’s an 8 million dollar 8th man that is solid but has no clear strengths to his game.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
3:27 pm

And speaking of Kyle Korver, he not only misses securing a defensive rebound, he gets shook by Lou Williams who drops it off to Hawes.

It’s idiotic to have Korver in this game right now, when you need stops to get back into this game. Rip Hamilton on the bench. Thibs will be blasted by the Chicago media if the Bulls lose this game.

LOL . . C.J. Watson thinks he’s back at Tennessee, playing Vandy.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
3:30 pm

LOL @ Najeh . . not an intended shot at C-Viv . . . but he would never give us anything like this before the game. He’ll learn though . . I hope.

doc

May 6th, 2012
3:33 pm

why was hinrich missing during crunch time? takeaway from this series, hinrich looks like the guy we wanted to come here before two injuries. ill take my chances with him on defense and being the third option from the field on offense.he is legit and unflappable. ld missed on that big time as MC just gave numbers to figure it out.

yodaddybrother

May 6th, 2012
3:34 pm

The problem with the Hawks players….through no fault of their own…is that they simply make too much money. The team does have talent and versatility.

We rag on Joe Johnson all the time but he didn’t offer himself a $120 million contract. Marvin Williams didn’t resign himself for $8 million. That’s a management problem and management takes its cue from the owners. It’s really a top down problem.

Horrible owners hire weak GMS who hire the bargain bin coaching staff and then wonder why the players can’t execute plays in the 4th.

Having said that, this team still has a chance to win this series.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
3:35 pm

And national media . . . please don’t tell me that Luou Deng is an All-Star.

O'brien

May 6th, 2012
3:35 pm

Bulls not looking so good. With Philly going up 3-1, I dont think the Bulls can win 3 straight.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 6th, 2012
3:39 pm

“why was hinrich missing during crunch time? takeaway from this series, hinrich looks like the guy we wanted to come here before two injuries. ill take my chances with him on defense and being the third option from the field on offense.”

He has done a good job on Rondo. I just wish he would hit open shots with some consistency and not over-dribble when he gets the ball (particularly when he brings it up). He is clearly a better defensive option than Pargo and Green. Unfortunately, he was consistently a worse offensive option than Pargo during the regular season.

terrell

May 6th, 2012
3:39 pm

Deng an All-star? lol. Btw, Boozer looks close to retirement already.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 6th, 2012
3:42 pm

Facing the Sixers with home court advantage is a golden opportunity for the Hawks. Gold, Jerry, gold. Can’t blow this, Hawks. Must win game tonight.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
3:43 pm

yodaddy . . . I disagree. If we were healthy, this team would be fine against Boston, because Horford and Zaza would be getting the minutes at center instead Collins, Dampier, and Ivan.

We’re basically playing 2 guys who wouldn’t even be backup centers on any playoff team.

But with the way the Celtics play, it’s not like they take advantage of that ( or can take advantage of it ). Boston is basically a mid-range jumpshooting team. So you have to have a squad on the floor fast enough to contest those jumpers when they rotate the ball around.

If we had a healthy Horford, there’s a chance we would be up 3 – 0 right now on this team. A healthy Zaza would see him grab 3 – 4 offensive rebounds and put them back in the hole, or draw fouls vs KG in the post.

We’re limited what we can do with Collins and Dampier. But the one thing they can do is defend KG when he tries to score in the post.

yodaddybrother

May 6th, 2012
3:46 pm

Hawks need to get Nate McMillan in here next year

steven a smith

May 6th, 2012
3:50 pm

Please Mr. Rick Sund…i hope you have time to read some of the great BLOGGING that goes on. I Beg of you,, I cry out..Can we PLEASE draft not ONE, but TWO, Bigs this offseason. PLEASE..Big man help needed. Fab Melo, Festus Ezelli, Robert Sacre, and Jeff Withey, could all be availabble when you pick,

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
3:52 pm

Damn .. . Amare’s stitched hand look like baseball seams.

steven a smith

May 6th, 2012
3:56 pm

Josh Smith should take over tonight if he is the allstarthat he thinks he is, Josh, YOU are the best player on this team. It’s your time to ESTABLISH your legacy Brother..STEP-UP!!!

doc

May 6th, 2012
3:58 pm

too funny.

northcyde, there is a stitch called just that the baseball stitch. it aint pretty but functional as it holds tissue together well. from what i read it was the side of the hand where all the meat was. it also is where there is a lot of movement; no need for cosmetics as there are so many wrinkles and lines. i dont think they would have used that one on his face in frankenstein manner.

yodaddybrother

May 6th, 2012
4:01 pm

@northcyde

There is no doubt in my mind that if we even had Zaza we’d be up 3-0 in this series. If we had Horford we’d be the 3 seed destroying the Magic right now.

With the team like this…we can still beat the Boston Celtics…they have been begging us to put them out of their misery since the 3rd quarter of Game 2. They just ARE NOT better than the Hawks this year….even with the injuries.

Everyone else’s injuries are talked about ad nauseum but no one mentions the Hawks. We took the mighty Boston Celtics with all guns blazing to overtime on the road without our top 3 front court players. The team can get it done. It starts tonight though. It’s a must win in every sense of the term.

doc

May 6th, 2012
4:01 pm

najeh i took pains to not say i wanted him as a ball handler. didnt he crease it 4-6 in game one? i dont want him long at point nor do i want green at two in crunch time, good guy though.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
4:04 pm

Horford would easily average a double-double in this series. He’s averaged 11.5 ppg and 8.7 rebs for his playoff career. And the only reason why those numbers are that low, is because he was hurt for the majority of the 08 – 09 playoff run.

If we had the ability to throw a frontline of Horford – Smith – McGrady at Boston, they would be in trouble.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
4:08 pm

Yeah doc, it was the inside palm of his hand, where his thumb is.

http://www.nypost.com/r/nypost/2012/05/04/sports/web_photos/amare154543–415×415.jpg

That dude is lucky he didn’t seven one of his veins in his wrist.

northcyde

May 6th, 2012
4:12 pm

actually it was the side where the pinky is.

steven a smith

May 6th, 2012
4:13 pm

northcyde
May 6th, 2012
4:04 pm

If we had the ability to throw a frontline of Horford – Smith – McGrady at Boston, they would be in trouble

You should do STAND-UP COMEDY my friend. That’s funny stuff!!

steven a smith

May 6th, 2012
4:16 pm

Al Horfords’ Failure to show up and Cowardice against other BIGS, like D12, Amare, and KG, would just rub off on the other players…

tom

May 6th, 2012
4:18 pm

this could be the most important game of this current hawks regime. get the win hawks!

Admirable SnAckBar

May 6th, 2012
4:22 pm

I am proud of what the Hawks have achieved this season.
keep up the good work and steal one in beantown.
go Hawks.

Wendy

May 6th, 2012
4:26 pm

Kirk has shot pretty consistently and pretty well since the all-star break – but he doesn’t have the gunner’s mentality that Jannero and Willie do. He’s settled into the role of 4th or 5th offensive option, and he doesn’t switch out of that when on the floor with the bench guys. The guy is one of only two Hawks shooting over 40% from 3 in the playoffs so far, and he’s got the lowest usage rate on the team – in game 3, just 5.5.

Partly that’s on him needing to look for his shot more, and partly that’s on LD designing stuff for Kirk to get a couple more shots a game. I’m not suggesting a ton more shots, but with Joe getting his points off volume shooting, they could certainly shift a couple of those Kirk’s direction. I realize he didn’t hit any of the 3 shots he took, but they were all from 3 as well. A lot of guys have started games 0 for 3 and then hit the next couple. Between those 3, I have more confidence in Kirk having an overall positive contribution.

M. Cunningham's Real Father

May 6th, 2012
4:30 pm

Al’s numbers are so low because he’s sorry, They only tally what you did while you played not when you were out injured. Al’s being out did not factor into what he did while he played. Those sorry numbers are what they are ….is what it is. Al Houdini

M. Cunningham's Real Father

May 6th, 2012
4:33 pm

Zaza, Josh and JJ > Al, Marvin, Tmac

Lon Stotts

May 6th, 2012
4:36 pm

It’s imperative we get the ball in Teague’s hands after each defensive rebound, let him push it up the court and look for a quick option before they set their defense. If nothing’s there, reset, move the ball around and make them work. Don’t let it stagnate. That’s when we turn it over.

These guys are going to be TIRED! Bradley is probably gonna sit this one out, so look for Ray to get big minutes. His conditioning is legendary, so even after missing 11 games and playing 37 mins the last game, he’ll be in the best shape out of any of the old Big 3. KG and Pierce are wearing down, and if we can win this one, the thought of at least two more games to play after this one will weigh heavily on those old heads.

Playoff minutes are different; Doc knows he has to ride his horses, LD has still been saving his guys for a “long series.” Win tonight and it’s officially a long series. We’re the younger, deeper team, and we have to take advantage of the fatigue that will set in during the later games of this series. A bench player (other than T-Mac) must step up and hit some big shots. Willie, Pargo, MARVIN, Vlad, we just need one of y’all, please!

High-sider

May 6th, 2012
4:37 pm

“…Against the Celtics, Green and Pargo have failed to duplicate the offensive numbers they posted against playoff-bound opposition in the regular season. The Hawks have also been outscored by an average of over 6 points per game with either on the floor. The following is a comparison of Green, Pargo and Hinrich’s numbers against the Celtics, including assist and turnover totals for the latter two.

Name MPG FG% 3PT% PPG +/- A TO
Hinrich 32 39 42 6.7 +13 4 1
Green 13 40 25 3 -18 0 0
Pargo 8 20 25 1.7 -20 3 2…” – from the article [entitled] “Return on Investment: Kirk

Hinrich by Buddy Grizzard, Hoopinion, Sunday May 06, 2012

In Game[s] 1-3 vs. the Orlando Magic of the first round of the 2011 playoffs, Jamal Crawford scored 23 points, 25 points and 23 points, respectively; that’s a scoring average of 23.67ppg through three playoff games in which the Hawks went 2-1. Through three playoff games this postseason, the Hawks’ current win-loss record is 1-2 vs. the Boston Celtics. Hinrich, Green and Pargo are currently averaging 11.4ppg combined through three playoff games this postseason. In essence, with respect to scoring in the first three games of the playoffs, Jamal Crawford > Kirk Hinrich + Willie Green + Jannero Pargo. I know one of Jamal Crawford’s nicknames is “The Difference” but is he [Crawford] that big of a “difference”? I guess so. In the 2011 playoffs, Jamal Crawford averaged 20.0+ppg in the first round and the Hawks advanced to the second round [EC Semifinals] of the playoffs. What will the scoring averages of Hinrich, Green and Pargo be for the first round of the playoffs this postseason and will the Hawks advance to the second round [EC Semifinals] this postseason? Time will tell.