|Rondo eyes matchup with Westbrook||03.31.10 at 12:36 am ET|
For the past four years, Rajon Rondo has been catching the eyes of veteran point guards around the league as he developed into an All-Star. Now there is another up-and-coming player who has caught his attention.
Rondo has been impressed by the play of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.
“He’s a mature guy,“ Rondo said. “He’s running the show, he’s getting his main guy the ball, and at times he knows when to attack.”
In just his second season in the NBA, Westbrook is averaging over 16 points and ranks eighth in the league with 7.9 assists per game. (Rondo is fourth with 9.8 apg.) Many of those have been dished to teammate Kevin Durant, the league’s second-leading scorer.
Not only is Westbrook moving the ball, he also is helping his team win. The young Thunder squad currently holds the sixth seed in the Western Conference and has just two less wins than the Celtics this season.
On Wednesday, the C’s will look to push that differential up to three wins when they face the Thunder at TD Garden. Rondo knows he will have to buckle down on defense to stop Westbrook. Both players scored 15 points in their first meeting of the season (a Celtics win) in December.
“[I have to] try to keep him in front of me, keep him out of transition,“ Rondo said. “He loves to attack in transition, so just try to keep between him and the basket.”
Rondo understands how to stop Westbrook for a reason. Prior to the his first All-Star appearance, Rondo pointed out Westbrook as the player in the Rookie-Sophomore game who reminds him most of himself. He drew similarities between their quickness and aggressiveness with the ball.
If it were up to Rondo, Westbrook would have been joining him on the court in Dallas.
“I think he could’ve gotten into the All-Star Game this year too as well,” Rondo said. “Hopefully he’ll make it next year. He got overlooked, but he’s definitely a good player.”
Even though Rondo and Westbrook are only in their early 20s, Rondo believes this matchup has the potential to become one to watch over the next few seasons.
“You know you’ll be going against him for hopefully another six or seven years,” he said.
|R-O-N-D-O to play H-O-R-S-E in D-A-L-L-A-S||02.08.10 at 4:44 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics All-Star guard Rajon Rondo confirmed following Monday’s practice that he will be taking part in the HORSE competition at All-Star weekend in Dallas.
The guard said he will come up with some trick shots that only he can make in an effort to beat Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the defending champion, and Sacramento’s Omri Casspi.
Last year, Durant beat Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and O.J. Mayo of Memphis for the title.
|Celtics teach history lesson||03.29.09 at 10:37 pm ET|
On paper the biggest difference between the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder is their records. The Celtics are atop the Atlantic Division with 60 wins while the Thunder have 40 less. But the Celtics also have an advantage that the Thunder cannot attain in a single season – one of the deepest histories in the NBA.
On Sunday the Thunder made the first trip of their inaugural season the TD BankNorth Garden. (Click here for the recap of the Celtics 103-84 win.) The Celtics legacy was not lost on the Thunder squad.
“Inspirational,” Jeff Green said of playing in the Garden. “That’s the point we want to get at. They won championships and that’s what we want to do. But it takes a lot of focus. You’ve got to play defense. This is our first season. It’s going to take some time. We’ve got to be patient, we’ve got to continue to work hard to get to the point where stuff is working.”
Green was drafted by the Celtics in 2007 and traded to the then-Seattle SuperSonics as part of the Ray Allen deal. He played in Boston last season but this time it was different in a Thunder uniform.
“We have to establish who we want to be,” he said. “As of right now, we’re working on that. But we want to be a defensive-minded team. We want to be able to stop people when it counts. We want to be able to make our opportunities count when we get those stops. And I think right now we’re in the process of forming our identity but we’ve just got to continue to work at it.”
Rookie Russell Westbrook also has his own ties to the Celtics. The Lawndale, California native, and former UCLA Bruin, grew up as a Los Angeles Lakers fan. Even though he rooted against the Celtics, he appreciates their tradition.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true growing up, watching the Celtics and Lakers play,” Westbrook said of his first game in Boston. “I’ve seen the old games and things like that. It’s kind of where you planned on being announced.”
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks hopes his young team will learn a thing or two from the Celtics victory.
“One of things that we will learn is, pick up from this team, is there is a reason why they are a championship team,” he said. “They compete every time they are on the court. They execute throughout the game. They don’t just do it in spurts. It’s something that we have to continue to get better at — play 48 minutes of execution and do a better job of just playing with toughness down the stretch.”
Xs and Os aside, the Thunder can take more than a loss away with them.
“It motivates you to want to get better, to want to be at that championship level,” Green said. “It’s an honor to play in a building where some of the greats, Bill Russell, who have banners hanging up, Larry Bird, Parish, all those guys. They paved the way and made it possible to do what we do today. But we’ve got to build our own type of history. We have to start somewhere. And I think the more that we work, the better and better we get and the closer we wil get to that championship level.”
|Smith deal called off||02.18.09 at 11:57 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, big man Joe Smith is heading back to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Smith has been mentioned as a possible addition for the Boston Celtics front court. On Tuesday he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets as part of a deal for Tyson Chandler. However Chandler, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, did not pass the Thunder’s physical. This means the 6-10, 225 pound Smith could be back on the market. Even though the Celtics are not expected to make any major moves, they do have a roster spot made available by the Sam Cassell trade. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.
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