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SI’s senior basketball writer Ian Thomsen joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday morning, and said the Celtics getting off to a slow start in the postseason is nothing new.
“This is the MO for the Celtics; we’ve all seen it. They start off a playoff series kind of slow and then the other team feels maybe a little bit comfortable. I’ll be really surprised if Boston plays the same way the next game.” said Thomsen. “We’ve all seen what their defense can do when they’re really focused.”
“With everything that went wrong they still had a chance to win,” Thompsen said of the Celtics cutting a double-digit deficit to just four points in the fourth quarter Sunday night. “So I kind of like their chances –depending on what happens with Rondo – going into the next game, and maybe even without him.”
Point guard Rajon Rondo is facing a possible one-game suspension for bumping referee Marc Davis in the fourth quarter, a call that got him ejected.
While Thomsen believes Rondo tripped into Davis, the Celtics guard should still expect to be hit with a one-game ban.
“On the replay you can see he trips and bumps into him. The Celtics have to assume he is suspended. If he isn’t suspended, it will be a surprise,” said Thomsen. “What would that say to the rest of the league at the start of the playoffs, where if you make it look like you trip you can bump into the officials?”
Special: NBA Playoff Section
“He’s sort of taken over that Kendrick Perkins role as the guy that is always mad at refs,” he said of Rondo. “I think he will be suspended (for Game 2).”
So with Rondo likely out Tuesday night, who will take over playcalling duties for the Celtics?
“Now Paul Pierce becomes the point guard, and maybe that is actually a good thing,” said Thomsen. “Playing off the ball last night he wasn’t getting many shots. Earlier this year Paul Pierce was just terrific as a facilitator as a point-forward.”
How should the Celtics deal with the size advantage Atlanta has over them? And who is the clear-cut favorite to win it all this season? Find out all that and more with Ian Thomsen on Toucher & Rich!