|Why you should care about Wednesday’s Celtics win: Rajon Rondo’s spectacular return, Marcus Smart’s debut||10.29.14 at 10:22 pm ET|
First the C’s took a 26-point lead into halftime, then they dropped 101 points by end of the third quarter thanks to a Kelly Olynyk buzzer-beater.
In the end, the Celtics played extremely well as a whole, winning 121-105 while shooting an insane 55.7 percent from the field for the game (Click here for the box score). And it was Rajon Rondo who gave them the shot in the arm that they really needed, not missing any games after breaking a bone in his left hand just 33 days ago.
Rondo dazzled in his return
Rondo returned to action just shy of five weeks after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand and was better than ever. Wearing protective padding over his injured hand, Rondo posted a near triple-double in his first game action since April, finishing with 13 points (6-for-9 from the field), 12 assists and seven rebounds in just under 30 minutes of action.
Brad Stevens said prior to the game that there is no minute restriction on his star point guard, but he will open up the season playing in these types of short “stints” followed by even shorter rests.
“I thought he played great,” Stevens said of Rondo after the win. “I probably played him in the second half too long of stints for what I wanted to at one time, but I actually thought one of the best parts of the game for us was the fact that we went to the bench and we just kept going. And the bench made such a great contribution, and Rondo just kind of fit in seamlessly.”
|Rajon Rondo to play and start on opening night vs. Nets||10.29.14 at 6:09 pm ET|
He’s been giving us updates on himself all week, from 79 percent on Monday to 83 percent on Tuesday, but now Brad Stevens has made it official. Rajon Rondo will play in the Celtics‘ first game of the season on Wednesday night just 33 days after surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand.
Stevens was straight to the point when asked if Rondo would play and if he would start, simply responding, “Yes,” to both questions.
Then Stevens was asked if Rondo would have a minutes restriction: “No,” said the coach. ‘The way that I’ve looked at it is that I might play him in shorter stints, but no minute restrictions. And then, you know, it will be about how he plays after that, it really is his first preseason game as well for him.”
Stevens also went on to say that Rondo will receive shorter rest than he did last year in between his playing stints.
|Asset Management: Rajon Rondo’s Celtics future||10.29.14 at 12:34 pm ET|
I think we can all agree the Celtics won’t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’s pieces in a series we’ll call Asset Management. Next up: Rajon Rondo.
There’s no point arguing about whether Rajon Rondo is a great player any longer. He’s capable of things on a basketball court previously reserved only for Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson, and that’s all I’ll ever need to know.
We haven’t seen Rondo at full strength since Jan. 25, 2013, when he dropped a 16-10-11 triple-double and played the final 12 minutes of a double-overtime loss to the Hawks on a torn ACL. How anyone hates on him is beyond me.
Playing at 87 percent health or whatever weird number he assigned to his rehabbed right knee last season, Rondo still averaged 11.7 points, 9.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 33.3 minutes over 30 games. You know who else achieved those averages in 2013-14? Nobody. Not Kevin Durant. Not LeBron James. Not Stephen Curry. Not Chris Paul. Nobody.
Rondo is one of the most extraordinary players in the NBA, if not the league’s strangest bird, and it’s good to have him back. The broken metatarsal in his left hand will prevent Rondo from reaching 100 percent for a week or two, but he’ll be collecting triple-doubles before we know it, ascending everbody’s player rankings all year.
|Tom Brady goes all Rajon Rondo in wishing Celtics ‘good luck’ this season||10.29.14 at 12:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady is at it again on Facebook.
On Wednesday, his page posted a photoshopped image of him from his childhood holding an old-school Voit basketball. The photoshopped part was the Rajon Rondo-esque headband.
Brady appears a bit chubby in the photo but with an endearing smile.
The post wishes the Celtics “good luck this season.”
|Asset Management: Dwight Powell’s Celtics future||10.29.14 at 9:58 am ET|
I think we can all agree the Celtics won’t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’s pieces in a series we’ll call Asset Management. Next up: Dwight Powell.
Other than looking a lot like Daniel Tosh, what else do you know about Dwight Powell? We’ll still be here when you get back from that interwebs search.
The Celtics have quietly stockpiled high-character, high-IQ players in the Brad Stevens era — through the draft (Marcus Smart) and the trade market (Tyler Zeller) — and Powell certainly fits that mold. The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior at Stanford this past winter, he brings fundamental defense, sound shooting mechanics and deft passing to Boston.
Powell also brings a 6-foot-11, 240-pound frame to go along with impressive averages of 25.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per 100 college possessions. And yet the former top-25 high school recruit dropped to the 45th pick in this past June’s NBA draft and has since been traded twice — in packages for a pair of since released players (Scotty Hopson and Keith Bogans).
That’s because, according to DraftExpress, as a senior he lacked toughness on the boards, couldn’t consistently knock down jump shots and didn’t protect the rim, even if he earned another First Team All-Pac-12 selection. Powell showed more promise as a junior, when he logged a respectable 54.2 true shooting percentage, grabbed 24.0 percent of available defensive boards and submitted a 23.3 player efficiency rating a few months after his mother (living in Melrose, Mass.) died of cancer. Talk about toughness.
|WEEI.com predicts 2014-15 Boston Celtics season||10.29.14 at 8:59 am ET|
The Boston Celtics season is upon us, and our WEEI.com round table of Ben Rohrbach, Mike Petraglia, Kevin O’Connor, Julian Edlow and Sam Packard weighs in on five questions facing the C’s this season.
1. What will be Rajon Rondo‘s fate this season?
@brohrbach: We’ve seen “National TV” Rondo, but we’ve never really witnessed “Contract Year” Rondo, and that could be an awful lot of fun. He’s almost two years removed from the ACL surgery, and the broken bone in his hand appears to be only a minor setback. I’m on board with Celtics president Danny Ainge’s assessment that his four-time All-Star point guard will enjoy a career statistical year as the most exciting player on a blah team. Even then, haters will find something to complain about.
As for whether he’ll be traded or not, the Celtics will sure as heck try, but the number of teams in need of a starting point guard, willing to meet Ainge’s asking price and lining up to pay Rondo max money isn’t a long list. It’s a coin flip, but I’m now leaning more toward no deal than deal.
@Trags: Traded by January.
@KevinOconnorNBA: For Rondo to be dealt by Boston, another team needs to get desperate close to the trade deadline. Looking around the NBA, I don’t see many teams willing to cough up what it’ll take, so for now I think he’ll remain with the Celtics all season.
@julianedlow: Rondo plays the year out in Boston. If he was ever going to be traded, it needed to happen by draft night. There are just no realistic packages out there that make sense for Ainge to deal Rondo. I won’t venture a guess as to what happens after this season, but I guarantee it won’t be boring.
|Marcus Smart could be much better if he just stops taking so many 3-pointers||10.29.14 at 7:15 am ET|
Marcus Smart’s shooting was a topic of many discussions during the preseason, to the point that it has begun to steal the spotlight from exactly what kind of player Danny Ainge and the Celtics may have acquired in Smart.
Smart is a premier defender and an elite athlete who may be much more talented on the offensive side of the ball than we give him credit for. We still need to see Smart play alongside Rajon Rondo, but so far Smart is the one who has been keeping himself from being far more efficient.
Ben Rohrbach wrote a well-researched piece earlier in the preseason that focused primarily on Smart’s poor 3-point shooting — something that Smart should try to stay away from early in his career. As Ben points out in his piece, Rondo and Avery Bradley both have significantly improved their shooting in one way or another since the beginning of their careers. So as a long-term goal, Smart never should give up on developing a shot from downtown in the NBA. But now is not the time to pretend to have one already.
Three-point shooting is something that Smart should be working on — and has been working on daily behind closed doors. But if he plays to his strengths, Smart can be far more efficient than we saw overall in the preseason. He did give us glimpses, though, and they looked mighty good.
The best example of what Smart is capable of came in the preseason finale against the Nets. Smart only played 16 minutes, but he dropped 16 points to go along with his four assists and two steals. The important part is that Smart shot 5-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-3 in the paint and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. The numbers can’t get any more efficient than that, but they can grow in volume. Smart rarely attempts 2-point field goals. So much so that he only attempted two per game in preseason action.
Are you ready for this? Smart attempted 7.5 field goals per game in the preseason and 5.5 of them were 3-pointers! This is a 25 percent 3-point shooter we’re talking about who attempted a league-leading 44 3-pointers in the preseason (and made just 11, if you’re not good at math).
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