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Fast Break: Rajon Rondo, Celtics freeze Paul Pierce, Nets 03.07.14 at 9:55 pm ET
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There wasn’t nearly as much fanfare surrounding this Paul Pierce return to Boston, but the Celtics ended up on the winning side this time around, defeating Pierce’s Nets by a score of 91-84.

Rajon Rondo led all scorers with 20 points, adding nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Celtics (21-41) recovered from Wednesday’s miserable loss to the Warriors to snap a two-game losing streak. Jeff Green (15 points), Kelly Olynyk (13 points) and Jerryd Bayless (14 points) also reached double figures.

The Nets (30-30) fell back to .500, as Pierce finished with 10 points.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Moto Rondo: Perhaps motivated by the presence of rival Deron Williams and old friend Paul Pierce in town, Rondo came to play. He connected on his first three 3-point attempts, setting a new personal standard for a season, and scored 13 first-quarter attempts. The triple-double watch began early, and the C’s led 26-20 after one.

Technical KO: After scoring a team-high 19 points against the Warriors (somebody had to), Olynyk said he felt like he was figuring out opposing NBA defenses — how different players defend the pick-and-roll, drive-and-kick, etc. — and it showed again Friday. Scoring from 3-point range, on the drive and in the post, he abused Mason Plumlee early, even if Plumlee isn’t exactly Kevin Garnett. Now, Olynyk only needs to figure out his own NBA defense, but he showed grit, slapping the ball out of Shaun Livingston‘s hands as he attempted a few post-whistle layups. Had he made the trip, Garnett would’ve respected that. If only he were in Boston to tutor Olynyk on that end.

3 party: In addition to Rondo’s trio of 3-pointers, undrafted rookie Chris Babb drained a couple and the Celtics connected six of their 13 attempts from long-distance before the break. (Like Chris Johnson before him, Babb is earning well deserved playing time purely on effort.) But the bigger story was Brooklyn’s futility from beyond the arc. The Nets missed all 17 of their first-half attempts and naturally trailed 53-41 heading into the locker room.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo gives Louis Corbett his autographed game-worn sneakers 03.06.14 at 5:10 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo gets a lot of flak, but this was an extremely cool move. The Celtics granted 12-year-old New Zealander Louis Corbett‘s wish of seeing his favorite team play before losing his eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa.

Corbett’s favorite player, Rondo, who greeted him before the game, made sure Celtics public relations director Heather Walker delivered his autographed game-worn sneakers to the young boy. The Corbetts posted video of his reaction on their Facebook page. Rondo being Rondo, he probably would have preferred nobody ever knew.

As Brad Stevens said after the C’s lost 108-88 to the Warriors, “It’s the way we should be. It’s the way the organization should be. We should give back to the community. I don’t know that we should necessarily be applauded for it. I think we should just do it, and stories like that are uplifting to all of us.”

(h/t Red’s Army)

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo,
Danny Ainge: Rajon Rondo was asked not to skip flight but did anyhow 03.05.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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While saying that he wanted to move past the Rajon Rondo controversy regarding the point guard skipping a team flight to Sacramento, Celtics president of Danny Ainge revealed Wednesday morning that the team knew of Rondo’s plans in advance and requested that he remain with the team.

Rondo stayed in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday with his family rather than accompany the team to a game he was not going to play in order to rest his legs.

“He let Brad [Stevens] know and he let me know that he was going to stay in L.A. an extra day, and we didn’t think that he should,” Ainge told Boston’s CBS Sports radio station. “But it was his choice and [we told him] there may be consequences if you stay. It was that simple.”

Added Ainge: “In the end, him and I had a long talk about it. He planned it before and he had reason to believe it would be OK. I understand his reason because of what he’s grown up with and what he’s witnessed. You won’t see it happen again, and we’ve just moved on from it.

“I think that now Rondo understands more clearly what we want out of him as a captain. That we want him on the road with the team, and his leadership on the bench is important whether he plays or doesn’€™t.”

Ainge insisted he had “nothing major to hide” regarding the controversy, and that it’s something that’s been ironed out.

“I talked with Rondo about why he did what he did,” Ainge said “I didn’t agree with it, but we had a good talk and we’re over it.”

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Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: ‘If [Rajon] Rondo had a do-over, he would’ve gotten on the plane’ to Sacramento 02.28.14 at 11:16 am ET
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ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to discuss Rajon Rondo and other Celtics news. To hear the interview, head to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Last weekend Rondo made the decision not to travel with the Celtics to the team’€™s game in Sacramento — a game he was not scheduled to play — reportedly so that he could celebrate his birthday with family and friends in Los Angeles.

“I think if Rondo had a do-over, he would’ve gotten on the plane, because your best player has to set the example,” Van Gundy said.

“I can understand wanting to have a birthday celebration in L.A. versus in Sacramento, but when you’€™re the best player, you’€™re charged with setting an example that everyone should follow, and one of those things is sacrificing what you want to do for what you should do, and I don’€™t think there’s one argument that could be made that a guy who’s traveling with the team should miss a game to blow out birthday candles.”

Despite Rondo’s decision, Van Gundy says the four-time All Star has the ideal “Boston fan mentality.”

“A guy’s greatest strength is often his greatest weakness,” Van Gundy said. “What I love about Rondo is his surly, competitive, nasty streak. I love that about him. Now, does that go the other way at times where he may go over the line? Maybe. But it’s hard to find guys in today’s NBA — everybody knows what to say now. Everybody is so polished media-wise.

“To me, Rondo, and every player, has times where he would like to handle situation X a little bit differently, but for the most part, I think his attitude is absolutely the type that you need to win.”

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Jason Colllins, Rajon Rondo,
Rajon Rondo’s birthday bash: ‘My business, not yours’ 02.27.14 at 12:58 am ET
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In typical Rajon Rondo fashion, the Celtics point guard addressed the media in Boston for the first time since the Boston Herald report claiming he skipped the team’s trip to Sacramento without permission.

What does he make of the media firestorm unleashed after his alleged decision to remain in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday with friends and family? “I haven’t really read much about it,” he said. “I heard a lot of comments. Nobody knows the story, so you guys keep making up every story you guys possibly can.”

What, exactly, is the story? “It’s my business,” he followed. “It’s not yours.”

Likewise, Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to his team’s 115-104 victory against the Hawks that the organization would handle the matter internally. According to the Herald, C’s president Danny Ainge will meet with Rondo next week upon returning from a college scouting trip and has not ruled out a fine.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo,
Rajon Rondo to talk with Danny Ainge about failing to accompany team to Sacramento 02.25.14 at 2:34 pm ET
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Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was not scheduled to play in Saturday’s game against the Kings in Sacramento — the second night of a back-to-back that started with a game against the Lakers — but he apparently did not have the team’s permission to stay in Los Angeles rather than accompany the team on its flight north.

The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported that Rondo stayed in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday with family, and that he might have assumed he didn’t need to fly with the team as he had been left home rather than make a trip to Milwaukee for a Feb. 10 game that was the second of a back-to-back.

Rondo implied that the matter was settled, telling the Herald: “We already talked about it. There’s nothing to talk about.”

However, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge did not sound as convinced.

“I plan on talking to Rondo when he gets back into town,” Ainge told the Herald. “I’ll find out more about what went into it, and then we’ll handle it internally. We handle all of those kind of issues internally.”

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ESPN’s Tom Penn: ‘I think there is significant interest’ in Kris Humphries 02.19.14 at 1:39 pm ET
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With Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline approaching, ESPN NBA analyst Tom Penn said Wednesday is the day to look for deals to take shape.

“Today’€™s always ‘€˜real deal’€™ day,” said Penn, who will appear on ESPN’s “Trade Deadline Special” Thursday at 3 p.m. “You start finally talking real deals, and then you’€™ll try to get them done tomorrow, and I expect to see quite a bit of movement. On a macro-picture, with the West being wide open, everyone should be looking to upgrade. In the East, strangely, you have some teams trying to get as bad they can get, so you have deals going in every direction.”

Penn worked as assistant general manager for the Grizzlies and then vice president of basketball operations for the Trail Blazers, and he has direct experience negotiating with Danny Ainge.

“Danny’€™s a pro,” said Penn, “a pro’€™s pro. He’€™s done everything in this league, and he’€™s had success making mega-deals and making smaller deals. He’€™s not bashful about asking for what he wants.”

Added Penn: “With Danny, he was always very confident in what he had and very direct in what he wanted to do. He tended to offer deals that were really good for the Celtics and really not so good for the other team, and he did so unashamedly.”

A major deal for Rajon Rondo seems unlikely, but Penn identified Kris Humphries and Brandon Bass as the C’€™s two most desirable trade assets.

“The main challenge finding a match to give the Celtics what they want,” explained Penn. “Humphries [earning $12 million this season] is a lively big on an expiring contract, so I think there is significant interest in getting him, but his contract is the only significant expiring contract for the Celtics.

Keith Bogans can go away, we know that, but the Celtics really need that money to go away. So they would be looking for a different combination of one-year expiring contracts and then something for the trouble, right? So that’€™s harder to see a match when you factor in what they need.”

Bass, who has another year left on his contract, is the most likely Celtic to be moved.

“A player like Brandon Bass is very valuable this year and next year to whoever’€™s looking at him,” Penn said. “His salary is [$6.4 million], and he’€™s been proven to deliver in the playoffs [most notably an 18-point quarter in game five of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals against the 76ers]. He can spread the floor, make shots, and isn’€™t going to hurt you too bad defensively.

“Unlike Humphries, who you’€™re just renting for the rest of this season, with Brandon you have in the fold for next year and see if he fits with you longer term. In Bass’€™ case, it’€™s easier to give up more of what the Celtics want — a younger piece, or a draft pick — when you know you have this player for two years.”

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m.

Read More: Brandon Bass, Danny Ainge, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries
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