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Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo & Derrick Rose’s contrasting styles

Wake up with the Celtics [1] and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Bulls point guard Derrick Rose [2] has only been held to fewer than 10 points once all season — and never fewer than six. Conversely, his Celtics counterpart, Rajon Rondo [3], has been held to single-digit scoring 21 times in the 2010-11 season — and less than six points nine times.

Meanwhile, Rose has recorded double-digit assists just 16 times — and never more than 14. On the other hand, Rondo has produced 10 or more assists 36 times — and more than 14, well, 14 times.

To say the least, Rose and Rondo have led the Celtics and Bulls to a tie atop the Eastern Conference by playing different styles as the floor generals of their respective teams. But which is more successful?

In the 29 times since 1980 that someone has recorded at least 11 assists per game, that player has reached the conference finals nearly half the time (14-of-29). Those are favorable odds for the Celtics, as Rondo has produced 11.7 assists per game this season.

Still, only six times in that span has someone averaged 11 assists and led his team to the NBA Finals [4]. Each time his name was Magic Johnson [5], who led the Lakers three titles in such seasons (1985, ’87 and ’88).

Fear not, Celtics fans, for no point guard who has averaged at least 24 points per game has even won a playoff series in the last 30 years. Michael Adams [6] (1991), Gary Payton (2000), Allen Iverson [7] (2005, ’06, ’08) and Gilbert Arenas [8] (’06, ’07) have all produced 24-plus points a game as the primary point guard on their roster and never made it out of the first round.

Before you say, ‘Hey, Rose has had a better year in 2010-11 than any of those four players in those seven seasons — and he’s surrounded by better talent,’ consider Iverson’s 2007-08 season with the Nuggets:

I’d say Iverson’s supporting cast of Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby [9] and a healthy Kenyon Martin [10] are fairly comparable to Rose’s supporting cast of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah [11] and a questionably healthy Carlos Boozer. And that Nuggets team got swept in the first round.

There’s no question that Magic’s three 11-assist championship seasons were better than Rondo’s performance this year, but would you also concede that Paul Pierce [12], Ray Allen [13], Kevin Garnett [14] and a 39-year-old Shaquille O’Neal [15] are a better supporting cast than Magic’s 1988 supporting cast of James Worthy [16], Byron Scott, A.C. Green and a 41-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [17] that won the title?

I think I just talked myself into betting on the Celtics to win the Eastern Conference. If not, I can take solace in the fact that Brian Scalabrine [18] would make the NBA Finals as a member of three different franchises (2002-03 Nets, 2007-08 & 2009-10 Celtics, 2010-11 Bulls).


Yahoo! Sports reporter Marc J. Spears had an interesting interview [20] with former Celtics and current Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. Here’s what Perkins had to say …

Perkins recorded six points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes during his debut for the Thunder in their 116-89 victory against the Wizards on Monday night. Meanwhile, new Celtics center Nenad Krstic [21] averaged 14.7 points and 12.7 rebounds last week, capturing a Player of the Week nomination [22].


Garnett published a couple more entries [23] to his blog on shoe company Anta’s website, covering the Celtics’ last three games — including losses to the 76ers and Nets. The highlights (lowlights?) …


Five of the 16 championship rings that Red Auerbach [24] won as coach, general manager and team president of the Celtics will be up for auction on the website SCP Auctions [25] from April 15-30, according to Bloomberg.com [26]. Personally, I’d rather bid on his humidor, engraved with signatures from members of the 1954-55 Celtics. …

Sports Illustrated posted 12 rare photos [27] of former Celtics draft pick Len Bias that I’d never seen before, including this one …

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee or a future mailbag? Send an e-mail tobrohrbach@weei.com [28] or a Twitter message to @brohrbach [29].)