|Rajon Rondo on his behavior: ‘I’ll adapt’ to NBA||01.08.13 at 3:12 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo said Tuesday he was simply making a joke with official Rodney Mott when he bumped him in Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, which along with what the NBA said was “a failure to cooperate with a league investigation” ended in a one-game suspended for Monday’s game against the Knicks.
On Saturday, Rondo was called for an offensive foul when he ran into Atlanta’s Josh Smith with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter, and made contact with Mott as he protested the call.
“Yeah, I thought Josh flopped,” Rondo told reporters Tuesday. “I told Rodney, his body size and what he weighs, and look at me, there’s no way I could have made him go into the stands off of contact. [Mott] laughed, threw the ball in, and we got back on defense.”
Rondo said he talked to league officials about the bump and didn’t understand why he was cited for failing to cooperate.
“I don’t know about an investigation,” Rondo said. “I don’t feel it was needed to have an investigation. I know Rodney, and that particular time on that play, I actually went up to him and I made a joke, he laughed. In the midst of it I guess I touched him. I did touch him, and the league, I guess, reviewed it. The media blew it up on SportsCenter or whatever, and I served a one-game suspension.”
Rondo insisted Tuesday he “didn’t drop any bad words” on his chat with the NBA Monday. But reporters, after Rondo agreed to a limited number of questions, kept pressing the point guard on the issue.
“I said like one or two questions,” Rondo said. “You [reporters] are asking like 30 questions. That situation’s over, man. They did what they had to do. Ask the league, you know?”
Monday’s suspension was Rondo’s fourth in less than a year, and second this season. When asked if he felt like a “repeat offender” in the league’s eyes, Rondo turned sarcastic.
“Yeah, I feel like I’m a criminal. I go to court a lot, they say investigation — what happened during the investigation?” Rondo said. “I’m not on trial or anything, it’s just how it is when you’re dealing with the league when you get in a little bit of trouble. I’m a repeat offender. I don’t know if I have two or three strikes, but it is what it is.”
Rondo admitted he might have to “adapt” his behavior as the NBA keeps his conduct under close monitoring.
“Maybe. I may have to, but I’ll adapt. I’ll learn the game,” Rondo said. “But I’m an emotional player in that aspect. I think at that time I had a triple-double, we were up 10. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t go over and yell at Rodney. I think he even said that in his statement. But the league put the hammer down and made a decision.”
Rondo also discussed the incident that took place after Monday’s win, in which Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony approached the Celtics’ team bus after verbally sparring with Kevin Garnett for much of the game. Video of the incident showed Rondo nearby as Anthony hovered close to Boston’s bus.
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to Carmelo Anthony,” Rondo said. “I talked to KG, but like I said, we’ll focus on Phoenix tomorrow and getting better here as the Celtics. There was a couple people at the bus. I thought everybody was coming to talk to each other and figure out some things, going to dinner next time. I don’t know.”
Rondo said he knew Anthony and Garnett had been going at it during the game, but didn’t realize Anthony’s behavior carried over afterward.
“No, I didn’t. I actually left my location where I was watching the game around like three minutes to go in the fourth to get to the team bus, and I didn’t know what had happened,” Rondo said. “They were talking trash in the game, but I didn’t know it escalated to whatever happened after the game.”
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Rajon Rondo suspended again by the NBA||01.07.13 at 5:12 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo has been suspended one game without pay for making contact with a game official and failure to cooperate with a league investigation, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations. It is the second suspension for Rondo this season, after serving a two-game suspension for his shoving Kris Humphries on Nov. 28.
The latest incident involving official Rodney Mott occurred with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter of the Celtics’ 89-81 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night at Philips Arena. Rondo will serve his suspension tonight when the Celtics play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
There’s a secondary angle to the story. Hawks GM Danny Ferry is being fined $15,000 for approaching the NBA referees and handing them a videotape of the incident after the game.
The league has a strict rule about players or team officials approaching a referee after the game, for any reason, so Ferry was hit with the fine by the league.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Fast Break: Grizzlies maul Celtics in 4th straight loss||01.02.13 at 9:59 pm ET|
Avery Bradley may have returned to the starting lineup, but the same old Celtics took the Garden floor in a loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday night that looked worse than the 93-83 final.
Despite a spirited fourth-quarter comeback that slashed a Grizzlies lead that had grown as large as 18 points to just five with a handful of minutes remaining, it wasn’t enough to make up for three quarters of dreadful play that left the C’s three games under .500 (14-17) for the first time this season.
Bradley made his first bucket after missing the opening 30 games of the season, finishing with four points in 18 minutes. Rajon Rondo (11 points, 9 assists), who battled a bruised hip, Paul Pierce (17 points, 7 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) were the only Celtics in double figures. Hence, the team’s fourth straight loss and eighth in the last 10 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Memphis shooting: In the first half, the Grizzlies shot a ridiculous 61.1 percent and scored 50 points on 36 shots. Mike Conley (23 points, 9 assists) and old friend Tony Allen (15 points, 5 rebounds) shot a combined 9-of-11 before the break. Heck, even Darrell Arthur (10 points), who entered without a 3-pointer in 204 career games, drained two triples in the span of 1:43 in the second quarter.
Garnett’s first half: Whether it was a New Year’s hangover or not, Garnett started an atrocious 1-of-7 from the floor and committed three turnovers as the Grizzlies took a 50-41 lead into the break. It’s no surprise the defense also struggled on a night when KG didn’t have his best performance.
The Collins experiment: Celtics starting center Jason Collins may have limited Marc Gasol‘s scoring, but he did little to quell the C’s overall defense and rebounding woes. (The Celtics were out-rebouned 39-27 and gave up eight offensive boards). Plus, he’s essentially nonexistent on the offensive end. In what’s been a trend for Collins, he had as many personal fouls (2) as points.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Pierce’s first quarter: The Celtics captain started a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, scoring 12 of the team’s 26 points in the first quarter. He may not have been as successful in the paint, but his effort from long distance helped keep the C’s afloat as the Grizzlies made two-thirds of their shots in the early going.
Avery’s arrival: Bradley started opposite Mike Conley and held the Memphis guard to two shots (a successful 3-pointer and a runner from 6 feet) and two assists in 13:22 of shared floor time in the first half. In Conley’s remaining first-half minutes (8:22), he made 4-of-6 shots and generated three assists. In other words, even if Bradley’s offense was rusty (1-4 FG), he’s still effective on the defensive end.
The bench: Bradley’s presence also pushes Jason Terry (8 points) to the bench, creating some semblance of consistency at Doc Rivers‘ disposal. Believe it or not, the second unit actually turned a 14-12 deficit when Garnett sat in the first quarter into a 31-27 advantage when KG returned — thanks in large part to Brandon Bass (9 points).
Doc Rivers announced before Wednesday’s game that Rajon Rondo had been cleared to play and would start with Avery Bradley in the Celtics backcourt as the team looks for a defensive spark to turn around its three-game losing streak.
Rondo suffered a bruised right hip against the Clippers on Thursday and missed Saturday’s game against the Warriors before returning on Sunday in the loss to the Kings. Rondo sat out Tuesday’s practice before working out two hours before Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies and getting cleared to play.
Meanwhile, Bradley is making his season debut after surgery on both shoulders in the offseason. Rivers said before the game there would be no minutes limitations on Bradley in his first appearance of the season.
“I just think the quicker we get to our lineup, the better,” Rivers said. “We’re going to get to it anyway, so why wait?”
“If he’s hurting us, we take him out; if he’s playing well, we let him play,” said Rivers. “I think it’ll be vision, but listen, we gotta play with some kind of pace, offensively and defensively, obviously. So it’ll be pretty easy to see.”
Rivers said he hasn’t paid attention to reports that Bradley will be the key to a turnaround.
“I haven’t paid too much attention to all this stuff. Is he [Bill] Russell yet? Or [Bob] Cousy? I don’t know,” Rivers said. “If that’s what [media has] made him, and if he lives up to that, then I’m good with that. I hope everyone’s right.”
Can Bradley make the rest of the Celtics better defenders?
“If you take one great defensive player and you put him on a team, the team is going to be a better defensive team,” Rivers added. “And as important as bigs are, I’ve always thought, especially if it’s a guard that applies pressure, that kinda fuels energy. You see it and it’s hard for you not to do it. You got this guy doing it and then, what, are you not going to do anything? It clearly helps. Again, because this is his first game this year, the other players have a 30-game advantage on him as far as timing and stuff, as far as running their stuff. I’m not looking for the world today or tomorrow, even in a week. But it’s going to come.”
|Judging by this, Avery Bradley looks real close to returning||12.21.12 at 6:23 pm ET|
Celtics starting point guard Rajon Rondo, guard Avery Bradley, Kris Joseph and Courtney Lee play a game of 2-on-2 before Friday’s game between the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Rondo and Bradley took turns guarding one another.
Bradley was cleared to return to contact practice Monday in Chicago and judging by this, he looks real close to returning. In this video, he shows why he is considered the best on-ball defender on the Celtics and one of the best in the NBA.
|Opinion: Danny Ainge correct to sound alarm for Celtics||at 7:21 am ET|
The Celtics no longer are one of the toughest teams to play in the NBA, and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge does not appear content with that reality. After watching his team play mediocre defense over a 25-game sampling, Ainge on Thursday criticized the players’ collective play on The Big Show.
“We’ve got to prevent those runs by other teams and those droughts that we have at the offensive end and giving up so many lay-ins on the defensive end,” Ainge said. “There’s just no excuse for the way we’re playing. Yeah, you need to take time to find out who we are, but there’s no excuse for giving up 32 points in the paint in a half against Chicago, and there’s no excuse for giving up a 17-0 run to Cleveland.”
Last year’s Celtics delivered the template for a veteran NBA team looking to flip the proverbial switch in season. A five-game losing streak just before the All-Star break put the team’s record at 15-17. The Celtics went 24-10 after the break and eventually made a run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
So why is Ainge sounding the alarm in December? From a distance, the Celtics’ 13-12 start to this season appears to follow the same trend — a veteran team going through the motions some nights, saving its collective legs for the second half and postseason.
A closer look proves that this year’s team is much different than last year’s team, and perhaps not due the same measure of patience from Ainge.
The most glaring difference between this year’s Celtics and last year’s is their inability to play strong team defense. Even when last year’s team slogged through the first half of the season, it ranked as one of the top two teams in the NBA defensively. Before the break, the 2011-12 C’s held opposing teams to 89.4 points per game and a field goal percentage of 41.9. Those numbers increased slightly after the break to 90.1 points per game and a field goal percentage of 42.1. Despite the slight increases, the Celtics still finished the season as the second-ranked team in the NBA in points allowed, behind only the Bulls, and they ranked first in opponents’ field goal percentage.
The Celtics’ most marked improvements last season took place on the offensive end. The C’s scoring average jumped from 89.4 before the break to 94.1 in the 34 games after. Their field goal percentage improved from 45.8 to 46.5.
|Doc Rivers rolls the dice with Rajon Rondo and gets away with one||12.13.12 at 1:55 am ET|
The final box score Wednesday night reads that Rajon Rondo played 52 minutes, 30 seconds of the 58 minutes of Boston’s 117-115 double-overtime win over Dallas.
Doc Rivers said he could see Rondo’s minutes getting up there, especially toward the end of regulation and gambled by leaving him in the game, hoping the Celtics could hold onto their lead with four minutes left.
“Well I thought we started walking the ball up the floor,” Rivers said. “I thought our tempo changed in the fourth quarter. You know, it’s funny: they went small, we went small, you would think your tempo would increase. We actually went the other way. I thought the biggest mistake I made, actually, is keeping Rondo in that long.
“I thought I took the gamble, and sometimes it’s a good one sometimes it’s a bad one and I didn’t think this was a good one. I just thought he got tired. You know, I didn’t give them that normal rest two minutes before the fourth and let him get some rest. I mean obviously I didn’t anticipate a double overtime game. But I thought that had an impact on him and on his speed in the game. I told our guys with like four minutes left – my coaches, because then it was too late – I said, ‘This was not a good decision.’ And that decision could’ve hurt us.”
But it didn’t cost the Celtics – in part – because Rondo and the Celtics forced 28 turnovers against the Mavericks, leading to 34 points.
“Well, we’ve been trapping,” Rivers said. “I’ve been talking about it a lot and over the past seven games it’s been paying dividends for us. It’s been terrific. I told our guys, we also broke our own record with deflections. So we had – I don’t know what the number was now – but we had 100 deflections it felt like, we had 27 turnovers, because we couldn’t make a shot.
“You know, I didn’t like our shots that we got down the stretch. But overall we had a lot of good shots and they just wasn’t going in. So we won a game where a team shot 51 percent, and the other team, us, shot 43 percent. That was happening to us earlier in the year if you remember; we lost a couple games where it was the exact opposite. So, when you get more possessions like that, you give yourself a chance to win the game. I told the guys I was proud of them; I thought we made some mistakes that later in the year we can’t make down the stretch of games: the foul to give, didn’t call a time out, pass the ball so we couldn’t advance it before the first overtime. Those are plays that can’t happen. But through all those mistakes we still won the game, so as a coach we’ll take that.”
Kevin Garnett had 40 minutes himself in the marathon.
“He held up, and fortunately we are taking [Thursday] off,” Rivers said. “Whenever you have an 8 o’clock game you’re taking the day off anyway. So, you know, I don’t want that but it had to happen tonight.”
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