Tag: Rajon Rondo
At 14-13 for the season, this is certainly not the start that most Boston Celtics fans would have wanted to see from their team. On the one hand, Doc Rivers guys had a very hard time getting into any form or rhythm this season and quite frankly, even though they’ve had some improvement down the stretch, their play on the road is quite awful. So it came as a surprise that considering how the Brooklyn Nets pretty much handled the Celtics on their two previous games, that Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett stood up to their ground and took a 93-76 win at the Barclays Center in New York. Let’s not forget that going into this game, the Celtics had lost 7 of their last 8 road games. So yes, it was quite a mess, and not much was expected from the Celtics for this one. Then again, this is a veteran team, a Championship winning team that knows how to step it up when they need to.
And last night, on Christmas Day, on a nationally televised match, the Celtics had a chance to prove themselves. And that’s when we have to start talking about their point guard, Rajon Rondo. Last time this two team played at the Boston Garden, Rondo was kicked out of the game and lost his chance at making NBA history when his double digit assist record streak was cut short.
Rondo foolishly got himself thrown out of the second quarter after shoving Nets forward Kris Humphries into the courtside seats. This time, however, he managed to play the whole game, keep his cool and lead the Celtics with 19 points and 6 rebounds. “We moved the ball; we rebounded the ball,” Rondo said. “They beat us pretty bad on the glass, so tonight we did an exceptional job on the glass, taking care of the defensive rebounds, and we got stops.”
It wasn’t pretty I must say. Sure enough the Brooklyn Nets were simply out of it by the start of the second half, but there was still some bad blood from their last matchups and things got a bit frisky in the fourth quarter. A skirmish towards the end of the game ended up with four technical, one flagrant and a little too much drama but very little basketball. As a matter of fact, that was as though as the Nets looked the entire game.
Gerald Wallace guided the Nets efforts with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. His teammate, Brook Lopez chipped in with 19 points and 7 rebounds but the rest of the team was not bringing too much action for this squad. As a matter of fact, the Nets fans began to leave their seats and head towards the exit when there were still some 2 minutes to go in the last quarter, and just as Celtics fans began to celebrate their win. It seemed as if this guys just could find a system, a rotation that worked for them. They tried out some random schemes but not much worked out for them. Brooklyn shot just 41 percent and committed 20 turnovers that led to 25 points.
It’s a bit funny how some things work out at the end of the day. The Orlando Magic were playing at home against the veteran Boston Celtics. They were coming off a two game winning streak that was promising to turn their 5-8 season around. They were well aware of the fact that their turnovers were ultimately costing them wins and that it could be the reason why their season had been filled with rough patches. Even more, the Orlando Magic had been able to take advantage of the Celtics underperforming defense and had built up a 7-point lead halfway into the fourth quarter. The Boston Celtics defense for this game was so weak that it actually made an offensive minded player like Leandro Barbosa look as if he were a phenomenal defender.
At the end it really didn’t matter much. What the Celtics lacked in defensive prowess they made up with offensive experience, talent and down right clutch time brilliance. Rajon Rondo was just one rebound shy of recording yet another triple double in his career while Kevin Garnett finished off the match with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Paul Pierce Chipped in with 23 points to lead the Celtics into a 116-110 win in overtime over the Orlando Magic. For the better part of the fourth quarter it seemed as if the Orlando Magic would take this one. On the one hand, Jameer Nelson was putting on one heck of a show in the second half. Just for the sake of story let’s take into account that he had 17 points after the halftime break. Nelson scored the Magic’s final eight points of the third quarter, including a fade away jumper to end the period to give the Magic a two-point edge entering the fourth quarter.
And yet they gave the game away with their poor ball handling. As a matter of fact, Orlando had 19 turnovers that led to 23 Celtics’ points. That alone could had been enough to close on the gap. Paul Pierce had 14 points after halftime and had a chance to win the game with the last shot, a step back jumper as the fourth quarter expired but his shot barely missed the basket. Still, he made up for it in overtime. For a while there in OT it seemed as if the game would remain close till the last second. But the momentum went to the Celtics took a 113-108 lead on a 3-pointer by Pierce, and layup by Rondo with 1:37 left. Truth is, Rajon Rondo had a phenomenal game. He finished off the night with 15 points, 16 assists and 9 rebounds. On a personal note, this is the 37th consecutive game in which he has had 10+ assists, matching a record held by John Stockton.
J.J. Redick scored 21 points and had 2 assist for the Orlando Magic, but very little help came from the rest of his friends. He knew they blew that game up, and wasn’t apologetic about it. “We had our chances. We definitely had our chances in overtime,” Redick said in the postgame press conference. “We had a couple of bad possessions offensively. We’ll learn from that. … You can talk about experience or execution. They just executed better than us in the end.”
At 7-6 for the season, it’s hard to make an assessment on the overall performance of the Boston Celtics. Here’s the thing, is not as if they are not playing well, it’s just that they have not been consistent. So far this season, the Celtics have dropped games against powerful teams such as the Miami Heat, in the season opener, and the San Antonio Spurs, last week. But here is the tricky thing, they’ve also dropped games against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Boston Garden; and Brooklyn and Detroit on the road. Here’s my main thing: they managed to outplay the Bulls on the road and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder at home.
On the other hand, the Celtics they have also been given a couple of really easy wins. And yet they’ve had a hard time to have more wins than losses this win. Let’s not forget that two of the Celtics six victories came against winless Washington and a third win came against Toronto, which is in last place in the Atlantic Division. So what’s up with that? Where’s the rhythm, how can they build up some momentum and keep it going. For those of you who believe that this team is getting old, that their core is past it’s prime, well, that may be so, but taking a 108-100 win against the young Oklahoma City Thunder is got to be a sign of something.
They actually managed to win despite the 29 points on the game from the league’s reigning scoring champion, Kevin Durant. They managed to get Paul Pierce out of a first half slump that gave him only 5 points in the first two quarters. But something happened in the halftime break and when Pierce came out again he was a completely different player. He ended up scoring 22 points in the second half to guide the Boston Celtics to an 8-point win over the Thunder at the Boston Garden. The Celtics needed Pierce back, they needed to snap out of a two-game losing streak, and what a better way to do so than to beat the Western Conference defending Champions. Veteran Kevin Garnett chipped in with 18 points and 9 rebounds while Rajon Rondo has 6 points, 16 assists and 8 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook had 26 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was a vital part of the visiting team’s fourth quarter effort that turned a 14 point deficit into a 3-point game for the final two minutes of the game. Kevin Durant, like we mentioned before, had 29 points, but he missed the most important three-pointer of the game, one that could have tied it. “Oh, man, it felt good,” Durant said about the decisive shot in the postgame press conference. “It left my hand, it was online. I’d take that shot 10 out of 10 times. I shot it well. Unfortunately, it just bounced out.” And just like that, the Oklahoma City Thunder dropped another game. Still, there’s no reason why to panic. After all, these guys are 9-4 for the season, and looking sharp.
They were supposed to be too old, to wear-out, too much mileage, too injury-prone, a veteran squad who’s best years had gone by and who’s glory days were nothing but memories. Last season, they couldn’t beat the Miami Heat and went home after five games in the Playoffs second round. This time, despite a very solid game two performance, the Boston Celtics were coming back to the Boston Garden with a 0-2 deficit against the Miami Heat. Some would had believed that once again the series would be over in 5 games and the even older Celtics would succumb to the physical prowess of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat. But last night the Celtics proved that they still have what it takes, that they are as tough and as resilient as a much younger team. And the Miami Heat was embarrassed on its own court as the Celtics cut down a 13-point deficit to take the game 94-90.
Rumor has it, that earlier this season, Doc Rivers, the Boston Celtics head coach, reunited with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and came up to their young and talented point guard, Rajon Rondo with a very simple plan. “Well go as far as you can take us” the veteran, championship winning, squad told Rondo. Well, perhaps for the first time in his career, Rondo has realized that this is now his team, that the Big Three are his supporting role, and that if they prioritize team work over individual accomplishments, they could very well make it back with another ring. So far, despite fighting for every single points, every series, every match, the veteran team is still here, and one home game away from making it into the NBA Finals for the third time in 5 years.
And it was up to the usual suspects to turn the tables on the Miami Heat. Kevin Garnett finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce scored 19, after a very poor start. But it all changed when it matter most, he was a decisive player in cluth time and he buried the Heat when he converted a huge 3-pointer over LeBron James’ outstretched arm with 52.9 seconds left on the game. “We’ve done nothing,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re playing a heck of a basketball team. So just because we’re going to Boston, I told them, we have to play. They’re not going to give it to us. We have to go get it.”
The Miami Heat superstars weren’t up to it. James finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat. This alone could be considered a brilliant performance, but once again, James proved to be unreliable in clutch time situations as he went 8 minutes without scoring in the final quarter. Dwyane Wade scored 27 for the Heat, who got no more than nine points from anyone else. “We wouldn’t want to be in this situation but we never get too high or too low in a series,” James said. “We had an opportunity to come home and take a lead, but we didn’t. So we have to go up to Boston and win a game.” It’s that or go home. Sure enough the Heat are a -2 point favorite on the NBA betting spread for game 6. But it seems that the Celtics have the motivation needed to finish them off.