|Rajon Rondo says he’ll return before All-Star break||01.10.14 at 5:56 pm ET|
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, out since last February when he required surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, told reporters on Friday that he will return to the court either this month or next, sometime prior to the All-Star break. The Celtics‘ final game of the half is on Feb. 12.
According to the Boston Globe, Rondo suggested that he feels significantly better on the court since he first began full-contact practice in December, but he acknowledged that he is not yet in basketball shape. According to the Globe, he remained open to the possibility of an assignment in the NBA Development League before returning to the Celtics lineup.
“I feel more confident, stronger, more explosive. What I’m doing in the weight room, it’s productive,” Rondo told the Globe. “[But] I’m just trying to get back into shape. … I haven’t played ball in 12 months. You can do all the cardio, treadmill, running you want, it’s still different from basketball shape.”
Rondo was averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds a game at the time of his injury last season, the third straight year in which he averaged 11 or more assists a night. In his absence, the Celtics are averaging 19.3 assists per game, 27th among the 30 teams in the NBA.
|Streaky Celtics falter at end in one-point loss to Hawks||12.31.13 at 3:30 pm ET|
In a topsy-turvey game befitting of much of their play thus far in the 2013-14 season, the Celtics could not put the hammer down after opening up sizable leads in both the first and second halves, ultimately missing five potential go-ahead shots in the final 90 seconds of the game en route to a 92-91 loss at home to the Hawks. The loss dropped the Celtics to 13-18, 1 1/2 games behind Toronto in the Atlantic Division.
The Celtics, who led 23-20 after the first quarter, threatened to blow the Hawks out of the building with a 13-0 run to open the second quarter, with Boston’s lead eventually ballooning to 18, at 42-24. But Atlanta closed the half on a 15-2 run of its own, with the Celtics enduring a stretch of more than 10 minutes (the final 5:52 of the second to the 7:26 mark of the third quarter) without a field goal. The Hawks laid claim to a six-point lead (54-48) with 4:55 left in the third.
From there, however, the Celtics bounced back with a 9-0 run that was punctuated by Jordan Crawford‘s 3-pointer with 3:16 to go in the third, giving Boston a 57-54 lead that it extended to as much as a nine-point lead halfway through the fourth. But the streaky Celtics once again ran off the rails after taking an 85-76 lead, as 10 unanswered points by Atlanta allowed the Hawks to claim a one-point lead with just over three minutes left. From there, the lead changed hands six times, with Jeff Teague‘s two free throws with 1:30 left (following a foul by Avery Bradley) finally giving the Hawks a lead they would not relinquish. The Celtics missed five shots down the stretch with an opportunity to take the win, the last coming when Crawford missed a 10-footer as time expired.
Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 21 points off the bench, shooting 8-of-11 including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Kris Humphries added 18 points and 10 boards off the bench. But the strong effort of the reserves was undone by an ugly performance from the starting five of Brandon Bass (9 points, 2-of-6 shooting), Jeff Green (8 points, 4-of-10), Jared Sullinger (2 points, 1-of-6 before leaving with a bruised wrist), Crawford (8 points, 3-of-15) and Bradley (8 points, 2-of-10). Meanwhile, the Celtics had no interior answer for Paul Millsap, who scored 34 points (on 12-of-19 shooting) with 15 boards.
After splitting a two-game homestand, the Celtics will next hit the road to face the Bulls on Thursday.
|Brad Stevens’ homecoming spoiled by Pacers rout of Celtics||12.22.13 at 8:19 pm ET|
This was not the homecoming Brad Stevens had hoped for.
The Celtics head coach returned to the state in which he thrived as a college coach with Butler University only to watch the Pacers roll over Stevens’ club, 106-79, Sunday night in Indianapolis.
The Pacers, who improved to an Eastern Conference-best 22-5 with the commanding performance, held a 15-point halftime lead that the Celtics‘ were never able to recover from.
Indiana did nothing to hurt its reputation as the conference’s best defensive team, especially at home, limiting the Celtics to 38 percent shooting from the floor. The C’s only managed three players in double-figures, with Avery Bradley netting a team-high 13 points.
Indiana’s Paul George led all scorers with 24 points, while Roy Hibbert scored 15 on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. It was the Pacers’ second win over the Celtics this season in as many games.
|Celtics push past Knicks with game-ending surge||12.13.13 at 10:22 pm ET|
Down by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, the Celtics went on a game-ending 22-7 run in the final 10 minutes to claim a 90-86 victory over the visiting Knicks on Friday night. Avery Bradley contributed seven points in the fourth quarter, including the 3-pointer that put the Celtics ahead for good with 2:38 left to play. Bradley’s 24-footer turned an 84-83 deficit into an 86-84 lead for Boston that set up the team to maintain its first-place standing in the Atlantic Division.
Jared Sullinger scored 19 points to lead the Celtics in scoring, but most of his damage came early, when the Celtics opened up a lead of up to 17 points in the first half. But in a game of drastic swings, New York ended up outscoring the Celtics by 28 points between the second and fourth quarters, until Boston went on its game-ending run.
For a more detailed recap, click here.
|Celtics destroy Knicks to extend Atlantic Division lead||12.08.13 at 3:38 pm ET|
The Celtics scored the first 12 points of the game and raced out to a 22-point lead in the first quarter (a staggering 25-3 mark in the first eight and a half minutes of the game) en route to a 114-73 victory over the Knicks in New York. Jordan Crawford poured in 23 points and delivered seven assists, while Jared Sullinger added 21, on a day when the Celtics shot 54 percent from the floor, including 56 percent from behind the 3-point line. Crawford drained half of his 12 attempts from behind the arc.
While the Celtics went through stretches where they couldn’t miss, the Knicks endured the opposite phenomenon, shooting just 34 percent for the game. Boston also enjoyed complete dominance on the glass, outrebounding New York by a 46-26 margin.
The 41-point margin represented the 16th largest in Celtics history, and the largest spread since a 108-63 win over the Kings in December 2008. The victory improved the Celtics to 10-12, good for a two-game lead in the hapless Atlantic Division.
For a complete recap, click here.
|Celtics allow Bucks to snap 11-game losing streak||11.30.13 at 11:16 pm ET|
This wasn’t exactly the corner the Celtics thought they might be turning.
After a decisive home win over Cleveland Friday night, the Celts suffered one of their worst losses of the season Saturday night, dropping a 92-85 decision to the lowly Bucks. The subpar performance was made even more difficult to digest for Brad Stevens‘ team considering Milwaukee had lost 11 straight.
Two of the Bucks’ three wins this season have now come against the Celtics.
The C’s had jumped out to an eight-point lead after the first quarter, but were outscored 28-14 in the second quarter. Also not not helping matters was a fourth stanza that didn’t see the Celtics convert a field goal until almost halfway through the quarter.
Jeff Green couldn’t quite repeat his 31-point performance of Friday night, finishing with 18 points. Jared Sullinger turned in another solid outing, scoring 21 while hauling in 14 rebounds.
Avery Bradley (4-for-15 from the floor, 9 points) fouled out of his league-leading third game.
The Celts were also out-rebounded by the usually rebound-challenged Bucks, 49-39, with the visitors making just four of their 19 three-point attempts.
|Jeff Green, Avery Bradley help halt Celtics’ home losing skid||11.29.13 at 9:58 pm ET|
Green led a Celtics attack that saw Brad Stevens‘ team shoot 50 percent from the floor on the way to a 103-86 win over the struggling Cavs. The Celts’ forward netted 31 points.
The win marked the first time in 10 games the Celts scored at least 100 points.
It was Cleveland’s fifth straight loss, and eighth in its last nine games.
The Celtics, who improve to 7-11, jumped out to a 28-10 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. By the time halftime rolled around the hosts had a 55-39 advantage.
Jordan Crawford also notched his third career triple-double, scoring 11 points while coming away with 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Kyrie Irving starred for the Cavaliers, finishing with 17 points.