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Doc Rivers doesn’t want Rajon Rondo ‘pacing himself’ 11.05.12 at 2:18 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Sometimes, too much of a good thing is not healthy for a basketball team.

Such is the case for the Celtics and the minutes of Rajon Rondo.

As Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and, when he was here, Ray Allen, approached their mid-30s, much was made of limiting their minutes to preserve them through the season.

Well, take a look at Rondo’s minutes and what the Celtics expect from him and you could make the argument they should be just as concerned.

In the first three games, Rondo has played 44, 41 and 41 minutes, averaging 41.5 minutes per contest, nine minutes over his career average per game. Yes, it’s just a three-game sample so far and yes, that average includes a season of 23.5 minutes in his rookie year in 2006-07 and 29.9 the next, when he led the Celtics to an NBA title running the point. But still, one look at Rondo’s lean body and you see the need to preserve the Rolls Royce of the Celtics engine for all 82 games.

But Rivers took it a step further after practice Monday when he said it’s not the number of minutes but how Rondo is playing on the court that he has to watch closely. Rivers wants to be the one pacing Rondo from the bench, not Rondo himself.

“I’m concerned but not as far as him getting tired but I don’t want him to save himself on the floor,” Rivers said. “There’s a minutes number for him. We don’t know what it is yet. We’ll figure it out where he can play his minutes at full pace instead of knowing he’s going to be on the floor too long and then he starts pacing himself. We need him to be a fast, quick, aggressive player.”

And the number?

“I think it’s 39, 38 but it’s not much lower than 40 but it’s in that area,” Rivers added.

Rivers has said in years past just what a physical drain it is for a guard like Rondo to not only run the offense but play top-end defense that is a staple in the Celtics scheme.

The answers right now off the bench are Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa, with the latter coming to Boston in late October as Danny Ainge realized the need for ball-handling depth on the roster. Courtney Lee can also help lighten the load, switching from his starting role as shooting guard to the point.

But the biggest help of all will come when Avery Bradley comes back with two healthy shoulders – likely in December – to take a big defensive burden off Rondo.

Until then, Rivers will be watching Rondo very closely.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA
This Rajon Rondo play was pretty awesome 11.03.12 at 9:51 pm ET
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If not for this Rajon Rondo circus shot to beat the shot clock against the Wizards, the Celtics might be 0-3.

Read More: Boston Celtics, buzzer beater, Rajon Rondo, Washington Wizards
Rajon Rondo: ‘I’ve got to do a better job on the ball’ at 1:48 am ET
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Rajon Rondo pointed to himself as one reason for the Celtics 0-2 start to the season. Rondo finished with 14 points and 11 assists but couldn’t get his teammates into any consistent offensive rhythm for a second straight game as the Celtics lost their home opener, 99-88, to the Bucks Friday night at TD Garden.

“Just trust one another defensively,” Rondo said when asked what’s missing in the Celtics’ game right now. “It starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job on the ball and go from there.”

As was the case against the Heat, the Celtics were again beaten in transition throughout the game.

“I don’t know [if we trust each other defensively],” said Rondo. “I mean, we can say we do, but on the court it shows, we’re not pulling in weak side. But it’s a lot of things. We’ve got to start from somewhere. The good thing about it is we could start [Saturday].”

The Celtics play the Wizards on Saturday night in Washington.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo,
Paul Pierce: ‘Our goal is to keep our home court clean’ 11.02.12 at 11:29 am ET
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WALTHAM — In the labor-shortened 2011-12 NBA season, the Celtics were 24-9 at home on the parquet. They were 8-2 at the Garden in the playoffs.

But the sour taste from the last game they played before the home crowd remains. With a chance to eliminate the Heat on their home court, they came up flat, losing, 98-79, to LeBron James and company.

Everyone in attendance remembers the fans at the end of the game chanting “Let’s Go Celtics” and the players haven’t forgotten either, as they take the same court for the first time in a meaningful game since then tonight when they host the Bucks in the home opener.

“We’re excited,” Paul Pierce said. “We’re excited to be at home, especially after taking a loss in the first game so hopefully, we can come back home and establish ourselves. That’s going to be the emphasis this year – establish ourselves at home. No team should be able to come in here and get any wins. Our goal is to keep our home court clean so it can be an intimidating factor when they come to the Garden.”

“We had a tough year last year,” Rajon Rondo said. “Other than that, I think years in the past the Garden has been a tough place to play in.”

The team that will be trying to spoil the Celtics home opening party tonight is the Milwaukee Bucks, led by the dynamic duo backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. The Bucks will be playing their regular season opener tonight.

“I know they’ve got two explosive guards in the backcourt and I think a lot of things start with them,” Pierce said. “I’m very familiar with Ilyasova [Ersan Ilyasova] and that’s pretty much that core. They have good role players in Dunleavy [Mike Dunleavy] and more than capable guys like Drew Gooden so they pose a threat for us. They gave us trouble last year from what I remember so they have a good, talented team. This is their first game so they’ll be hungry to get out to a good start.”

“They’re a scrappy team,” Rondo added. “They play with a lot of intensity on defense. Jennings and Monta is their backcourt. That’s their firepower. Courtney [Courtney Lee] and I will have our hands full but it will be a team effort to win the game.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce: Celtics ‘defense has got to come a lot faster’ at 10:08 am ET
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WALTHAM — Paul Pierce, as captain of the Celtics, has a way of sending a clear message to his team.

That was evident during the TNT telecast of Tuesday night’s season-opening loss in Miami.

He was wearing a microphone and barking out calls on the floor and words of encouragement to Rajon Rondo when things weren’t always going well.

On Thursday, before the Celtics home opener tonight against the Bucks, he was barking out something else.

“The defense has got to come a lot faster, and that’s something that’s come a lot faster in the past than the offense,” Pierce said of Boston’s 120 points allowed in a 120-107 loss to the Heat. “I’m pretty surprised we scored 107 points, to tell you the truth. Usually, the defense, we pick it up pretty fast. We understand our schemes, our rotations. But I just think we have to understand the type of atmosphere it was going to be. Some of the guys have never been in that atmosphere before, first game, playing against the defending champs on the road. We have to pick up our intensity, understand the moment, understand where we’re at and understand the type of game it’s going to be and raise our game.”

Doc Rivers thought his coaching staff had too much time to prepare and filled their players’ minds with too much information.

“I think our on-ball defense was average because our help defense was worse,” Rivers said. “If everybody is up guarding their own man and there’s no help and guys see gaps [in the defense], they’re taking it. What really upset us, every key guy got every shot he wanted, where they wanted the whole, and that’s a bad defensive night.

“It was team wide. It was spread. Like I told them, from the coaching standpoint, I thought we had way too much time to prepare for it and we put way too much stuff in their head. I thought they were thinking more than playing on instinct. I told our coaches we share in that. We had them doing a couple of different things and that’s not who we are defensively.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Miami Heat, NBA
Who’s a dirtier player: Rajon Rondo or Dwyane Wade? 11.01.12 at 4:27 pm ET
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If it’s possible, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade are fanning the flames of the Celtics-Heat rivalry even higher.

After Rondo wrapped his left arm around Wade’s collar in the waning seconds of a game already in Miami’s hand on Tuesday night, the Heat guard called his Boston counterpoint out for what he interpreted as “a punk play.”

“I got my kids watching so I stopped myself but it was a punk play by him,” said Wade. “He clotheslined me.”

He added: “I’m here to play basketball. If you want to do something else, then go do something else. Boxing, this is not it. I was glad I was able to stop myself in that very moment and move on from it. We’ll see next time we play.”

After C’s practice on Thursday, Rondo responded, recalling a certain play in Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals, when Wade pulled him to the floor and dislocated his elbow.

‘€œI don’€™t think it was a hard foul,’€ said Rondo, referring to Tuesday’s flagrant-1 on Wade. “He sold it a little bit, and that’€™s basketball. They were up, he drove to the hole and I didn’€™t want to give up a layup. Simple as that. I didn’€™t yank him down or dirty plays that you’€™ve seen him play in the past, so that’€™s what it is.’€

Wade didn’t get whistled for a flagrant on Rondo two seasons ago, but that’s a different argument about superstar calls and whether the Celtics point guard fits that bill among NBA officials. As for which play was dirtier, it’s simple: Wade walked to the free throw line unharmed; Rondo walked off the floor clutching his arm in excruciating pain.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, NBA
Box and 1: Inside Celtics, Heat and ‘punk plays’ 10.31.12 at 4:32 pm ET
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Heat 120, Celtics 107: Observations about the box score from Game 1 of the C’s (0-1) 2012-13 NBA season.

— On seven shots, Ray Allen scored 19 points (2-3 3P, 7-8 FT) against his former team. Not good. Not good at all. Allen delivered his first dagger — a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner — 1:03 into his 30:35 on the floor thanks to a missed defensive assignment by Jason Terry. So much for Terry’s “Ray Allen who?” routine.

Doc Rivers (via ESPN.com): “You can live with LeBron [James] and [Dwyane] Wade making jump shots, but the first play I think Ray was on the floor, we leave him by himself in the corner. You’d think we would know better.”

Translation: “We made dumb plays on defense. That’s why we gave up 31 points in three consecutive quarters.”

— When the Celtics signed Leandro Barbosa two weeks ago, Rivers already understood what his newest backcourt ingredient brought to the recipe: Instant offense. Directions are simple: If trailing by double digits late, insert Barbosa. And results are appetizing: 16 points (6-8 FG, 3-3 3P) and a 19-point lead trimmed to two.

Rivers (via Celtics.com): ‘€œIf you get in a scoring contest and Barbosa’€™s on the floor, you’€™re going to feel pretty good about it,’€ said Rivers. ‘€œBecause that’€™s how he’€™s played. That’€™s how he’€™s used to playing.’€

Translation: “I trust veterans. Barbosa is a veteran. Therefore, I trust Barbosa.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, NBA
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