Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

Celtics outlast Bulls without Rose, mostly because Rondo is awesome


Rajon Rondo had 32 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds.

You’re pretty much not going to beat the Celtics without  a Derrick-Rose when that happens, and the Bulls did not Sunday, as they lost 95-91 in Boston.

Was it a good win? Yes and no.

The Celtics lead throughout, and only really allowed two significant runs. The Big 3 didn’t play well at all (12-28), and yet Boston only felt the noose tighten at the end. Yet it did tighten, and without Derrick Rose. Boston needed the win to get off a two-game losing streak, but without Rose, a blowout would have made people feel a lot better about the long-term health of the Celtics. As it stands, Rondo is developing excellent chemistry with Chris Wilcox, the Celtics were missing Jermaine O’Neal and Brandon Bass, and the Celtics still managed to beat a quality team.

The Bulls showed why they need Rose so badly. C.J. Watson, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer were largely overwhelmed, Watson and Boozer defensively, Deng offensively, and the Chicago bench was roundly outclassed which almost never happens. Rose is the balance for this concoction, the maestro, and without him, things tend to fall down like dominoes for Chicago.

Rajon Rondo continues to be involved in trade discussions. This is madness, and it is not Sparta. Rondo is a prolific player in this league and makes everyone around him better. His jumper’s not great. You know, that same shot most of the big men in this league don’t have and half the time we scream at perimeter players for taking anyway. He creates, and creates, and creates. He deserves more credit.

Is Boston back? Far from it. The same feeling pervades this win as it did the Lakers loss. Are the Celtics a bad team? Absolutely not. Are they a great team? Absolutely not. They’re somewhere in between, they’re fine. And unless they get a lot better in the next two months, the Big 3 era will go out with a whimper, not a bang.

Because if they see Chicago in the playoffs, Derrick Rose will likely not be on the sidelines.

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.