|Rajon Rondo triples up on the Bobcats as Celtics win sixth straight||01.14.13 at 9:58 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo recorded his 26th career triple double and sparked a second-half rally as the Celtics shook free of the lowly Bobcats, 100-89, for their sixth straight win Monday night at TD Garden. Rondo completed the triple double with a rebound with four minutes left in the game and finished with 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Paul Pierce led the Celtics in scoring with 19 points while Avery Bradley had 16 points, including 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. Jeff Green added 11 points off the bench for the Celtics, who improved to 20-17 on the season. Charlotte lost for the 23rd time in 25 games and fell to 9-28.
The Celtics appeared to be in line for an easy night when they jumped out to a 11-2 lead in the opening three minutes. Rondo was red-hot early, scoring seven points, dishing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds in the first five minutes. The Celtics built their first quarter lead up to as many as 13 points, 28-15, before settling for a 28-18 lead after one. The Celtics shot 63.2 percent in the first 12 minutes while the Bobcats were ice-cold at 7-for-25 (28 percent). Rondo finished the quarter with nine points, six rebounds and five assists, all team highs.
The Celtics built their lead to 18, 50-32, on a Pierce three-point play with 4:31 left in the second quarter. The Bobcats made a bit of a run at the end of the first half, closing on a 13-6 spurt, as the Celtics took a 56-45 halftime lead.
The tables were turned in the second half as the Celtics came out ice cold and were outscored by the Bobcats, 9-0, to open the third quarter. Rondo’s jumper stopped the run but Charlotte eventually tied the game, 58-58. The Celtics then scored the next seven points to take the lead for good. Boston led 76-70 after three.
The Bobcats were within four, 78-74, when Jared Sullinger and Rondo made back-to-back baskets to start a 9-0 run and open a 13-point lead. The run was capped by a Courtney Lee 3-pointer.
The Celtics are now 3-0 on their season-long five-game homestand, which continues Wednesday with a game against New Orleans and finishes up on Friday against the Bulls. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers says he is not overly concerned about the lower assist totals of point guard Rajon Rondo in the last three weeks. Entering Monday’s game, Rondo averaged 8.3 assists over his last 12 games. He recorded double-digit assist totals in just four of those games.
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll call [assistant GM, team counsel and stat guru] Mike Zarren and figure it out,” Rivers laughed. “Honestly, bench is playing really well and his minutes are down over the stretch as well. Ball movement is better and maybe it’s a by-product of that, but we can do that and he can still have high assist games as well. It’s just one of those stretches.”
Rivers also spoke about not taking the 9-27 Bobcats lightly. Charlotte started out the season 7-5 before losing 22 of their last 24 coming into Monday’s game in Boston. Rivers also confirmed that big-man Chris Wilcox (thumb) is getting closer to returning, and would dress but not play in Monday’s game as the Celtics need to dress 12 players for the game.
|Rajon Rondo on Carmelo Anthony: ‘People just get away with anything in this league’||01.09.13 at 7:56 pm ET|
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has been suspended for one game without pay by the NBA for confronting Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett in the arena tunnel, near the players’ locker rooms, and in the parking garage following the Celtics at Knicks game on Jan. 7. The announcement was made Wednesday by Stu Jackson, the NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.
“There are no circumstances in which it is acceptable for a player to confront an opponent after a game,” Jackson said in a statement. “Carmelo Anthony attempted to engage with Kevin Garnett multiple times after Monday’s game and therefore a suspension was warranted.”
The Celtics had different reactions to the suspension.
“I get suspended for a phone hang-up and people just get away with anything in his league,” said a tongue-in-cheek Rajon Rondo, who was suspended one-game for allegedly bumping official Rodney Mott on Saturday in Atlanta and being “unresponsive” to a league inquiry on Monday. “Oh, my goodness, so that’s the same thing huh? The rep I’ve earned, I’ll have to deal with it.”
Coach Doc Rivers had a different take on the Melo suspension.
“I don’t believe guys should ever be suspended,” Rivers said. “It’s not a surprise. [Teams] get in trouble for sitting players and then you suspend players; it’s the same thing. If you’re a fan, you’re not happy with that.”
Anthony will serve his suspension on Thursday when the Knicks play the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
|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.”