|Sounds of the game… Celtics 104, Hawks 92||04.03.09 at 11:47 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo spent the last five minutes of Friday morning’s shootaround in Waltham setting up behind the three-point line. He was making them at roughly a 50 percent rate.
Everyone knows that Rondo is the machine that drives the Celtics offense. He’s know trying to add an extra gear to the machine that produced 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting against the Hawks on Friday night in a 104-92 win at TD Banknorth Garden.
And as is often the case with the soft-spoken Rondo, it was his teammates doing the most talking about his great game on Friday.
“When Rajon is aggressive, he’s scoring the ball and it opens up everything for all of us,” Paul Pierce said. “Night in and night out you know me and Ray are going to get out touches but when Rajon is out there getting 16 points, getting layups, knocking down jumpers it just opens up the floor for everybody as you can see, Perk getting lay-ups, Baby getting wide open shots, I’m getting good looks and our offense gets pretty much unstoppable when he’s going.”
“It’s hard to beat us when a guy like that gets going, you know, he’s a wonderful guy, he can do some many things on the court, and when his jump shot’s falling, that’s even better for our team,” Kendrick Perkins added. “So, Rajon is a big, big player for this team, and he goes out there and contributes, and that’s what you saw tonight.”
Rondo’s extra gear would be the jump shot. He hit his only attempt from three-point range, a wide open shot from the left wing with 11.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter and the shot clock winding down that extended Boston’s lead to 77-69 and help Boston pull away.
“I had a couple of easy layups in transition and the three I shot was shot-clock (expiring),” Rondo said. “It’s just a matter of being aggressive at certain moments of the game.
“I’m continuing to work on it. I’m not settling,” Rondo added. “I made a couple tonight. I’ve just got to keep shooting. That’s what the other team is going to give me. Probably as long as I’m in this league, I’ll have to shoot the jump shot so I just have to keep shooting.”
“Rondo’s speed was an absolute factor in the third quarter,” said coach Doc Rivers. “You know, we’ve just got to keep him doing that every night. It’s amazing how now they’re feeding off of his speed. They know if they run to the right spot he pushes the ball up the floor. We told them at half time that they were going to double-team more. And, you know, with him, you don’t have to scheme. Just tell him to get the ball and beat the double team. And then now you have a whole open court. And I thought he did that.”
Rondo, like the rest of the team, is going to make good use of the two days off before Monday’s practice in Waltham.
“I’m just going to chill. Ice and stim (stimulation for his right ankle),” Rondo added. “I’m glad we get these next two days off to relax. I’m just going to chill at home with family.”
If Rondo can hit the open shot like he did in seven of his first 10 attempts on Friday night, the Celtics become a vastly more dangerous team on offense. The book on Rondo has been give him the open shot because that’s clearly the weak part of his game.
Clearly, Rondo has been working, like on Friday morning, to change that.