BOSTON – Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown admits that when it comes to coaching strategy, he’s not always right.

With Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo giving the Cavs fits to the tune of an average of 20 points and 15.5 assists per game in the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, Brown still wanted to guard Rondo the same way — allowing him to get the ball upcourt.

But an advance scout for the team, Bryant Moore, suggested that Cavs guards needed to guard Rondo from the moment he touched the ball in an effort to slow him down.

“(Anthony Parker), Mo (Williams) and Delonte (West) started preaching the same thing and I said, ‘Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Let’s try it,’” Brown said.

It worked well enough Friday night in Game 3 that Rondo was thrown off of his game more than a little bit. The Cavs’ pressure took away Rondo’s ability to see the floor well and hampered the Celtics’ offense.

That helped keep Rondo from getting into the lane and limited him to 18 points and eight assists. Without Rondo getting 15-plus assists, there were not as many easy inside shots for the Celtics and few quick-hitting jumpers for guard Ray Allen.

But as much of a difference as that little adjustment made, Parker played a huge role in making it work. Whenever he and Rondo were both on the floor, Parker was on him.

“He’s playing really well, and my only job is to make it as difficult as possible,” Parker said. “I hadn’t really been successful until the last game.”

Rondo’s speed and quickness enable him to go around players his size. Parker, who is 6-foot-6, offers the size to provide some challenge.

“I’d like to think so, but he’s still shown the ability to get in there and finish over 7-footers,” Parker said. “You just want to try to make it not easy as it was in the past.”

In the first two games, Rondo penetrated the Cavs’ defense at will and had a field day scoring and getting his teammates involved in the offense.

That changed in Game 3. The Celtics scored just 32 points in the paint, a series low. Parker credited his teammates in the effort.

The Cavs crowded the interior, trying to take away any room Rondo had to work.

Normally, that would leave a teammate, such as Allen, with a wide-open shot. But the Cavs also did a good job of getting out and contesting perimeter shots.

“They’ve done a great job of helping out while still being able to get out on Ray Allen and Paul Pierce,” Parker said of his teammates.

Brown got the desired results in Game 3 and sees no reason to change.

“It worked out better than doing it my way, so we’ll keep doing it their way,” he said.


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