Archives For Rajon Rondo

Dennis Schroder: The Finisher

Eric Yeboah —  January 27, 2017

Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, and Steph Curry maybe some of names blurted out when asked to name some of the best finishers at the point guard position. Rightfully so, as those individuals have each carved out their own niche whether it’s Irving’s ambidextrous finishes, Parker’s floater, Curry’s high layups off the glass or Rose’s body bending layups through contact.

Dennis Schroder’s name still remains mostly forgotten in this category, which may change by the end of his first year as a full-time starter. Tuning into a Hawks game, you may be drawn to four time All Star Paul Millsap’s scoring prowess, but this motion offense doesn’t work without Schroder’s penetration and finishing ability.His teammates have consistently echoed that sentiment all throughout this year that this team is much more dangerous when he’s attacking putting pressure on both the defense and the rim. The numbers don’t lie, when Schroder scores 23 points or more the Hawks are 10-2. In those twelve games he went for 31 against Westbrook, 27 against Derrick Rose, 28 against the Golden State killer that is Kyrie Irving and 24 a piece facing Steph Curry and Kyle Lowry.

In every one of those elite matchups he showed not only the ability to go toe to toe with some of the best, not only did he show improvement in his midrange jump shot; but sent a message that he can get to the rim with ease at the same level as those big names.

“I don’t really care what people say,” said Schroder when referring to being an overlooked finisher. “I am just trying to prove to my teammates every time we go out there and win games. Everything else will come, people will then talk about it, when we keep winning, people will keep watching us then everything will profit off of that.”

Coming out of the NBA Draft, the Rondo comparisons appeared valid due to his pass first mentality, defensive presence and lack of shooting; but more than anything was the way he found creases in the defense to slither his way through for a finish as quick as lightning. He’s not an elite athlete by any stretch, but what he does possess is a lethal first step, long arms and big hands. Those attributes have assisted in his current 55.3-percent conversion rate on layups, by far the highest of his career. Hidden in that number is his exceptional ability at understanding the amount of time he has in certain situations to release his shot given the type of defender attempting to contest his tries, and all of that came with time and practice.

“My first year I had to figure out how I would finish because there are so many big guys blocking my shots,” said Schroder. “So I had to adjust and see how I could finish without people blocking my shots. I started working more with the coaches, watching little guards in the league like Tony Parker and Rondo really taught me a lot.”

These series of plays highlight Schroder’s ability to use that quickness to create an opening to the lane then use his IQ to gauge just how much or how little time he has to release his shot. You will also notice how he extends his body as he attempts the layup to create enough separation between him and his defender.

Understanding his defender seems to come natural to Schroder, and when you comprehend given scenarios, you then produce plethora of finishes. Particularly someone of his stature with long arms should use the scoop layups and high floating bankers to his advantage, because defenders have no choice but to either foul trying to contest or give up an easy bucket.

All of the best finishers in the league use it, but what I think sets Schroder apart is his ability to consistently convert off either foot or hand, meaning he he can finish taking off on his right leg with his left hand or finish using one side of the body on either side of the rim. In other words, he’s uncanny, unpredictable; but that’s what makes a great finisher great. That is what made Nate Archibald, Rod Strickland, Kevin Johnson and Allen Iverson special and worth the ticket. Those guys played the glass so well and Schroder does the same whether he is on balance or not.

These series of plays highlight Schroder’s ability to score off balance as well as properly place the ball on the glass at all sorts of angles using either hand. Additionally, you can see how effective his misdirection dribble move is and how it helps accelerate him into the paint.

This season, Schroder’s three ball has improved and he’s taking the mid range pull up more confidently than he ever has. Nuzzled in all of this progress, we may have forgotten how lethal he is at getting to the basket. His finishes may or may not wow you like the rest of the bunch that I named earlier, but what they will do is force you to respect his craft, his style, his way.

“I don’t think he is overlooked compared to those other big names because those guys are really good,” said teammate Kent Bazemore on where Schroder ranks among the best finishers at his position. “But I do think in time he will be regarded as one of the best.”

The Hawks fell behind early to a hot-shooting Boston Celtics team, allowing 42 points on 17-for-22 (77%) in the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 23 early in the second quarter as Rajon Rondo continued to dish to open men, who promptly sank their uncontested jumpshots.

The Hawks battled back in the second half, mostly behind the hot shooting of Kyle Korver and superb play of Dennis Schröder. Korver scored 10 points in the third quarter to help cut into the large Boston lead, and then Schröder took over in the fourth, scoring 10 points and failing to turn the ball over despite the intense defensive pressure applied by Avery Bradley. Schröder also gathered the final defensive rebound in a scramble with 14.9 seconds left, leading to a Kent Bazemore run out layup to secure the game for the Hawks with a score of 109-105.

“Our aggressiveness and activity wasn’t where it needed to be for a half,” commented Budenholzer on the team’s poor defensive start. “I give our guys a lot of credit for finding a way to bounce back and giving ourselves a chance to win a tough game.”

One part of the Hawks’ renewed defensive effort in the second half was Korver matching up on Rondo. “[Rondo] was kind of picking us apart like a quarterback with 14 assists at halftime,” said Budenholzer. “We just wanted to try a different look.” After 14 assists in the first half, Rondo was limited to five assists, three turnovers, and zero points in the second half and a lot of that had to do with Korver’s length and intelligent footwork on defense. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Celtics 115, Hawks 104

Bo Churney —  February 27, 2014

FINAL

BOS(20-39) 115 – 104 (26-31)ATL

Key Performers:
R. Rondo (BOS): 22 pts, 11 ast, 3 stl
D. Carroll (ATL): 24 pts, 7 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Ah, another year, another time the Hawks hoodwink us into thinking they can win in Boston. Atlanta came out red-hot in the first quarter, sinking their first six shots from the field. At one point, the Hawks led the Celtics 23-8. However, Boston then used their own run to get back into the game, finishing the quarter 17-4 to only trail by two point by the end of the quarter. The game essentially stayed within a couple of possessions for the rest of the game until Jerryd Bayless and Rondo were finally able to sink enough shots to pull away. Bayless finished with 29 points, just two shy of his career high. He hit a couple of contested looks, but the Hawks just simply lost him on some screens where Bayless was the ball-handler and he just pulled up and knocked down open shots.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: This was very similar to Jeff’s game against the Bulls. He was able to get switched up against a Boston big-man and then used his speed and tricky dribble to get into the lane and score. Jeff finished with 26 points on 18 shots, which is great, but he couldn’t use his same dribbling tricks to create for his teammates. Boston did well at forcing Teague to put the ball up in several situations and because of it, Jeff wasn’t really looking to make plays as much. He also let Jerryd Bayless torch him. Jerryd Bayless!!!! 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre was carrying the team’s scoring load in the first half, where he had 17 points in just those two quarters. The Celtics did a better job at preventing him from getting open looks in the second half, but having DeMarre score 24 point should usually be a coup for the Atlanta offense. On defense, Carroll got most of his minutes at power forward and even played center for a stretch. That reminds me, have I talked about how injuries have decimated this team yet. THEY WERE FORCED TO PLAY DEMARRE CARROLL AT CENTER! 8/10

Kyle Korver: The streak is off to 126, as Kyle got that problem out of the way rather early. He hit four threes against the Celtics and finished with 17 points overall. He also had a weird, Dream Shake-ish looking up-and-under in the third quarter that I didn’t even know Kyle was capable of doing. 7/10

Elton Brand: No 40 minutes for Elton on this night. Nope, he only played 34 against Boston’s relatively small frontcourt… and it probably would have been better if he could play more. Without Brand, the Hawks were playing either Mike Scott or DeMarre (like seriously, they actually had to do this) at center and it just didn’t work; the Hawks were absolutely destroyed on the boards when Brand wasn’t in the game. Elton’s overall line of 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five blocks was pretty great, but the three turnovers are a bit too much and he really just looked exhausted at the end of the game and his defense finally started to yield points. 7.5/10

Shelvin Mack: With Teague getting mismatches for a bunch of the night, Shelvin was more in the role of the team’s primary playmaker and it didn’t work out that well. He did have eight assists, but the added responsibility also meant that Mack couldn’t be the more conservative guy that he wants to be; he had four of the Hawks’ 18 turnovers, which is way too many giveaways. Shelvin also had an off night from the floor, only going 1-for-5 from the field. 5.5/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Celtics 94, Hawks 87

Raj Prashad —  November 24, 2013

FINAL

BOS(5-10) 94 – 87 (8-6) ATL

Key Performers:

J. Teague (ATL): 13 pts, 4 reb, 10 ast, 3 stl
J. Crawford (BOS): 24 pts, 3 reb, 10 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Atlanta let one slip away when the Boston Celtics outscored the Hawks 30-13, including a 22-4 run, in the fourth quarter to continue the home team’s win-two, lose-one streak. After a fairly even first half, Atlanta stormed out to a 10-point lead to close the third frame. The Hawks saw their lead disappear as their starters sat for the first half of the fourth quarter, and by the time they saw the floor again, Boston’s unit had built enough steam to run away with the streak-snapping win.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: On a night when Horford scored a team-high 18 points on 19 shots and grabbed just seven rebounds, he simply couldn’t do enough to close the game out in the fourth. Boston went with “big” lineups for most of the night, forcing Jared Sullinger or Brandon Bass to match up with Big Al. The continuous physical matchup in the paint seemed to wear down Atlanta’s center over the night and frustrated him with three of his attempts blocked at the rim (two from Sullinger and one from Vitor Faverani). 7/10

Jeff Teague: He forced Jordan Crawford into jump shots until the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end, shooting 3-for-15 on the night. It was a struggle, but Teague tried to get his teammates going by dishing out 10 assists, but his inability to stop Crawford from driving the lane or get any offense going in crunchtime adds to his frustrating night.  7/10

Paul Millsap: The power forward was a stat-filler Saturday night, shooting 50 percent from the field for 12 points, snagging five boards, dishing two assists, two steals and two blocks. He also had a huge dunk on Jared Sullinger that will likely fight for dunk of the year and a chasedown block of Avery Bradley. Millsap also finished with three turnovers and four fouls with the worst +/- on the team (-18). It was one of the glass half full type of nights for the big man. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: You have to love the new and improved camera man, DeMarre Carroll’s play and energy. He was all over the floor, harassing Jeff Green and diving for loose balls. He was a mess on offense though and couldn’t find any semblance of his shooting stroke. 6/10

Kyle Korver: 87 games and we’re still going strong with the streak. Catch-and-Korver is how he’ll be known to me from now on. He had a strong offensive night, scoring nine points, grabbing four boards, three assists and two steals. He couldn’t hold Avery Bradley, who ran through screens and did his best Korver impression from mid-range. 8/10 Continue Reading…

HH Team Preview: Boston Celtics

Raj Prashad —  September 13, 2013

2012-13 Record: 41-40 (7th in East)boston-celtics-logo-22

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Kelly Olynyk (draft), Gerald Wallace (trade), Kris Humphries (trade), Brad Stevens (coach)

Key Losses: Paul Pierce (trade), Kevin Garnett (trade), Doc Rivers (trade), Jason Terry (trade)

Predicted 2013-14 Record: 25-57 (13th in East)*

What to Expect: Boston faces their first year of a full rebuild. Gone are veterans Pierce and Garnett along with former head coach Doc Rivers.

The Celtics face a tough season of growing pains with a young core of developing players and injured stars. Rajon Rondo will be returning from an ACL tear that put him on the shelf midway through last year. Jared Sullinger underwent back surgery days after the team found out about Rondo’s knee. Rookie stud Kelly Olynyk is currently dealing with plantar fasciitis, forcing him to miss playing for the Canadian national team this summer.

This is also a team that struggled mightily on the defensive end with Garnett on the bench. They could rank near the worst in the league, defensively, while they attempt to establish a new identity under Stevens. It will also be interesting to see how the offense develops early on, with Rondo assumingly still recovering from his knee injury. Continue Reading…