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Despite disappointing ending, Rajon Rondo’s return a success 01.18.14 at 1:04 am ET
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Rajon Rondo had an eventful return to the court on Friday. (AP)

Rajon Rondo had an eventful return to the court on Friday. (AP)

Through 47 minutes and 59 seconds there was nothing to complain about regarding the debut of Rajon Rondo.

But it took just a second for that outlook to change.

With Boston trailing by three points in the waning moments, Rondo hoisted a 3-pointer that would have sent the game into overtime at the buzzer. But his shot clanked off the rim, and Boston fell 107-104 at the Garden.

‘€”Just came up a little bit short, but I was glad he had the ball,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game.

Still, there were plenty of positive takeaways from Rondo’s first game since last January — starting with the fact that he changed the dynamic of the team before the opening tip. Stevens, unbeknownst to Rondo, bestowed captainship upon Rondo before the start of the game. Rondo is the 15th Celtic captain, following Pierce, who reigned from 2003-2013.

“€œI never told him — I mean, maybe it’€™s something I should have done,” Stevens said. ‘”But I think it’€™s something you earn through your effort, through your leadership, through your involvement in the community.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Lakers will take on Celtics without Pau Gasol 02.06.13 at 9:04 pm ET
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Pau Gasol (16) suffered a serious foot injury Tuesday night against Brooklyn. (AP)

Pau Gasol (16) suffered a serious foot injury Tuesday night against Brooklyn. (AP)

Pau Gasol was in Boston Wednesday but not getting ready for a matchup with Kevin Garnett and the Celtics at TD Garden.

Following an MRI, the Lakers big man was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot Wednesday in Boston, sidelining the 7-footer indefinitely, just as the Lakers (23-26) were showing signs of turning around a season that right now has them on the outside looking in on the playoffs.

Gasol felt a pop in his foot Tuesday night late in the Lakers’ 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets and Wednesday’s exam in Boston confirmed his fears.

While his teammates get ready to take on the Celtics Thursday night at TD Garden, Gasol will fly to Los Angeles to be examined by team physician Steve Lombardo and foot specialist Kenneth Jung. The Lakers announced Wednesday they will give a timeline for Gasol’s return after his LA exam. The injury could knock Gasol out for the season if he undergoes surgery.

The Lakers are losing Gasol just as it appears they’re turning a corner. They come into Boston as winners of six of seven games, including three in a row on their season-long seven-game road trip. The Lakers have played the last three games without center Dwight Howard, who has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and top backup big man Jordan Hill is out for the season with a bad hip.

Gasol has been dealing with tendinitis in both knees and fasciitis for two months. The four-time All-Star big man also missed five games in January with a concussion. Since then, Gasol largely has been coming off the bench. Gasol is averaging a career-low 13.4 points per game and 8.0 rebounds while playing in just 36 of his team’s 49 games.

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: Celtics ‘going to look at everything’ regarding trade possibilities 01.28.13 at 12:03 pm ET
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Adrian Wojnarowski

Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski joined Mut & Merloni on Monday morning to weigh in on the Celtics following Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending injury.

Wojnarowski said the C’s prospects for the postseason haven’t changed that much. “This is still probably a first-round loser in the Eastern Conference playoffs,” he said.

However, the C’s could decide to make some changes to the roster. Rumors around the web have the Celtics interested in Magic sharpshooter J.J. Redick and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry. Wojnarowski said neither of those players would make much sense for the C’s, because Boston would have to give up too much — likely including first-round draft picks.

“They’re not giving away picks right now — maybe if Rondo was still around, possibly,” Wojnarowski said. “Danny [Ainge] said it to me yesterday, and it’s true: Picks are hard to come by. People don’t want to trade them anymore. … I just don’t see Boston giving away picks right now — to do what? Maybe somebody could make them better, but you’re mortgaging your future a little bit if you start giving away picks for a player who might able to help you win a couple of regular-season games and at best maybe a playoff game, if even that. I’d be surprised if Boston started to do that and gave away pieces of their future for a stopgap for the rest of the year.”

As an alternative, the Celtics could sell off a star like Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett in an attempt to rebuild.

“I think it’s possible and I think there is a chance,” Wojnarowski said. “And I talked to Ainge about this yesterday, I talked to Doc [Rivers] about it. It gets back to the fact of, you can’t just do it for the sake of doing it. People say let’s blow it up, get rid of KG, get rid of Pierce and ‘start over.’ But you’ve got to remember that you have owners who still see the place is full every night. And maybe they can get in the playoffs, and the [revenue from] playoff games. Versus dumping these guys for what might be very modest returns.

“It’s one thing when you have a Carmelo Anthony and a Dwight Howard and you do the deals Orlando and Denver did, where you got good young players, you got draft picks. … KG and Pierce are aging All-Stars in the mid- to upper 30s. People in this league anymore aren’t giving you young players and picks for those guys. So, like Danny said, tell me what the offer’s going to be. We can’t just say, hey, we’re going to ‘blow this up’ and start over. What will the offer be? Tell me what we’ll have the opportunity to do and then we’ll look at it. But you can’t just go into it and say, ‘Well, this is definitely what we’re going to do,’ because there may not be a deal out there that’s worth doing for those guys.

“But there’s no question they’re going to look at everything; they’ve been looking at everything. Danny’s not afraid to have a discussion about all his players. He’s always done it, to see what they’re value is. But I don’t think there’s any big deal out there where Boston’s going to get a great young player or one or two good first-round picks for either of those guys.”

Another rumor has Pierce going to the Grizzlies, Rudy Gay going from Memphis to the Lakers, and Pau Gasol going from Los Angeles to Boston.

“I’ve heard about that deal for days, I’ve asked about it, and I haven’t found anybody who’s given yet any credence to it. … For the Celtics, giving up Pierce to get Gasol? Obviously they have a problem in the middle, there’s no question he could help them go back to being a grinding low-post team. But it’s a lot of money for Boston to take on going forward by bringing in Gasol — two years, [$]40 million. I guess we’d have to see if ownership would be willing to take on that much money and if they think that would put them over the top. To me, that deal makes them a little different; I don’t know if it makes them significantly better.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Analysis: Lakers get Dwight Howard in four-team trade 08.10.12 at 2:29 am ET
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Dwight Howard is going west in a blockbuster trade.

Well, this was unexpected. After a summer of rumors that went nowhere, the Magic have finally agreed to trade Dwight Howard in a four-team deal that only became public Thursday morning.

The trade, as reported by numerous national outlets and which is expected to be finalized on Friday, will send Howard to the Lakers continuing a long legacy of disaffected big men that have made their way to Los Angeles. Howard joins Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal as All-Star centers who joined the Lakers after beginning their careers elsewhere.

In exchange for Howard, the Lakers sent Andrew Bynum to the 76ers but held on to Pau Gasol. That gives them a starting lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Gasol and Howard.

The trade sent Bynum right into the Celtics’ backyard and if there’s one center Kevin Garnett struggled with this past season it’s Bynum.

The Sixers also absorbed the contract of Jason Richardson, who has three years left at over $18 million. Richardson is still an effective player whose perimeter shooting helps shore up their biggest weakness, but he’s already beginning to decline and will be 32 in January. The cost was Andre Iguodala, who will go to the Nuggets, along with Nicola Vucecic and Moe Harkless, who will go to the Magic.

It’s a weird mix for the Sixers, who also amnesty’d Elton Brand and replaced him with Nick Young and Kwame Brown earlier this offseason. They dropped Brand, Iguodala and Lou Williams from the team that took the Celtics to seven games, and while Bynum is immediately the best center in the Eastern Conference, it remains to be seen if they got better after all their offseason moves. Bynum also has one year left on his contract. Read the rest of this entry »

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Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge’s dreams of Celtics future 03.12.12 at 12:10 pm ET
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We’re three days from the NBA trade deadline, and still no serious sign of a blockbuster deal involving the Celtics. Then again, the same could’ve been said last season, when Danny Ainge shipped Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and the Clippers’ 2012 first-round draft pick.

All that remains from that deal is the top-10 protected No. 1 pick, which currently slots into the low-to-mid 20s. That’s still not a bad haul for a center who is currently averaging 4.4 points (45.1 FG%) and 4.6 rebounds in 26.7 minutes, but considering the negative hype surrounding that trade it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Ainge gets cold feet on dealing any of the Old Three or Rajon Rondo.

Do I believe Ainge would ever let public perception stop him from making a deal that improves the Celtics moving forward? Not really, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it made him think twice about pulling the trigger on a deal that only marginally improves his team.

Over the next three days, teams will likely call about Rondo, which is probably the case in the latest Pau Gasol rumor in the Los Angeles Times after the Lakers beat the Celtics 97-94 (Rondo: 24 points, 10 assists; Gasol: 13 points, 13 rebounds). The same speculation was floated a couple weeks ago by HoopsWorld’s Eric Pincus.

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Irish Coffee: Rating ridiculous Celtics rumors 03.02.12 at 2:59 pm ET
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So many trade rumors, so little time.

On Thursday, NBA teams could officially deal players signed this past offseason, and March 15 is the deadline, so Celtics president Danny Ainge‘s phone bill is probably higher than Lindsay Lohan‘s attorney fees at this point.

While Ainge denied actively shopping Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo in an interview on WEEI’s Big Show, he’s made it clear Rondo, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and everybody else — including captain Paul Pierce — are available for the right package. So far, the price hasn’t been right.

We’d be remiss not to mention the current rumors, but let’s be serious about the possibilities. Here goes.

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Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum ‘can be a dominating couple’ 02.10.12 at 3:51 pm ET
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BOSTON — He might look like a llama, but he sure doesn’t play like one.

Lakers forward Pau Gasol recorded 25 points and 14 rebounds against the Celtics on Thursday night, but his biggest play of the 88-87 Los Angeles victory came when he blocked Ray Allen‘s put-back attempt off a Paul Pierce miss as the overtime buzzer sounded.

“Probably, for sure,” Gasol said when asked if he thought Allen’s attempt would have sunk the Lakers had he not blocked the shot. “I think he had momentum, he was going to the rim, he’s obviously got amazing touch and I continued to play. I made a big play down the stretch, which could have cost the game.”

The Lakers wouldn’t have been in position to win the game had it not been for Gasol and center Andrew Bynum‘s combined 41 points and 31 rebounds — 20 of which came on the offensive end.

“We try to play hard and dominate every game and be a dominating couple every game,” added Gasol. “I think with our size and our level of skills, we can be. Sometimes we get to do it. Sometimes it doesn’t work both ways, but I think tonight obviously we got a great effort from Andrew. … I was able to be effective, too.”

By sending a second defender Kobe Bryant‘s way each time he touched the ball, the scheme designed by Celtics head coach Doc Rivers & Co. dared Gasol and Bynum to beat them.

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