Celtics

Celtics, Heat react to news of Rondo's ACL tear

989803.jpg

Celtics, Heat react to news of Rondo's ACL tear

BOSTON Within moments of what was their biggest win of the season, the Boston Celtics were in no mood to celebrate.

Shortly after the C's 100-98 double overtime win over Miami, Celtics coach Doc Rivers broke the news to his players that Rajon Rondo had a torn right ACL injury and would be lost for the rest of the season.

Within minutes, the news of Rondo's injury spread to the Heat locker room.

Here's a sampling of how players on both teams reacted to the news that Rondo, the NBA's assists leader, was done for the season.

"He's our leader, and it hurt. It's tough to hear that news, one of our top players go down. We have to be there for him. We just have to continue to build. Everyone collectively has to step up." - Celtics forward Jeff Green

"It's tough; tough on everybody. He's becoming the heart and soul of this team. He's coming into his own. It's a blow man, I'm not gonna front. It's a blow." - Celtics big man Kevin Garnett

"Very tough and sad. I still have faith that he's going to come back as soon as possible. He's a big key for this team; a big difference. We here to get his back, to support him in anything he needs. It's sad. I can't believe that it's like that. Hopefully he'll be OK." - Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa

"We're family, so you feel bad for him. You know I know he wants the best for us, and wants us to continue to go out there and play hard for him every game. And that's what we are going to do." - Celtics guard Avery Bradley

"You have a lot of mixed emotions in here. You want to celebrate the win but yu now you feel for y9our teammate, a leader. Pretty much wherever he goes, we go. It's hard knowing that he's going to be out for the year. It's a tough pill to swallow." - Celtics forward Paul Pierce.

"It's sad news but we've got to fill his shoes the best way we can and that's just going out there and playing hard." - Celtics guardforward Courtney Lee

"One thing about this league is it's a brotherhood. You never want to see anyone go down with any kind of injury, especially a season-ending injury. So it's very unfortunate and it sucks, man. He's a great player and he really is the leader of this team and obviously guys are gonna have to step up for them, but this year they lost the leader of their team, so it's tough for the game to lose a player like Rondo, but especially for Boston." - Miami guard Dwyane Wade

"It sucks. It's terrible. As much as a competitor and as much as I've been a rival with Boston over the years, I never want to see anyone go down and knowing the competitor that he is and knowing how talented he is, I think it's terrible. Not only for their team but for the league." - Miami forward LeBron James

The solution for Celtics? Play better down the stretch

The solution for Celtics? Play better down the stretch

BOSTON – If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Brad Stevens in his time as Celtics coach, it’s that he’s not about that sugarcoating life.
 
When it comes to his team, he’s about as transparent a coach as you will find in the NBA.

MORE:

So, when he says his team has been outplayed in both of its first two games, he’s not doing it as some stealth rallying cry.
 
He’s doing it because it’s where they are at this moment.
 
“So, whatever that’s attributable to, we’ve got to fix it, we’ve got to be better at it, regardless of when it is,” Stevens said.
 
Boston will get another crack at it on Friday night against a Philadelphia squad that, like the Celtics, is also searching for its first win of the season.
 
Struggling to win games is something the Sixers have grown accustomed to in recent years.
 
But the Celtics have been on an upward trajectory every year under Stevens’ watch. And while it’s far too soon to panic over their start, players understand that change must come about soon if they are to get on the right track and have the kind of season they envision for themselves as a group.
 
“Brad’s right, we have a lot of plays to clean up and a lot of stuff to get better at, but that’s’ the beauty of it,” said Jaylen Brown. “We got a really good group and a lot of young guys – we’re going to move forward and take that challenge. We’re going to win some games; we’re going to win a lot of games here in Boston.”
 
But doing so won’t be easy, not with the Celtics still trying to find the best way to move forward following Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that may keep him out for the remainder of this season.
 
The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter of both losses before eventually failing to make the necessary plays down the stretch to ensure victory.
 
Some of that has to do with the unfamiliarity - not a surprise when you add 10 new players to the mix in one offseason. Another contributing factor is, because of injuries, there are players elevated to more prominent roles who were otherwise seen as simply depth additions at the end of the bench.
 
Whatever the reasons may be, the bottom line is clear: the Celtics have played two games where they were outplayed enough to lose. 
 
“I don’t want to make the excuse that we’re a young team, but we are,” said Kyrie Irving. “We have some experience here and we have to utilize that and continue to exude confidence in young guys and ourselves and understand the game comes in waves. There are going to be ups and downs. We have to be able to withstand other team’s runs as well as hit back and have that hit-first mentality in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter. Once we start understanding we have to put a complete game together, myself being at the head of the ball and being better with it and putting guys in the right spots, we’ll be fine.”

Agent says Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season

Agent says Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season

Hopes that the Celtics would have Gordon Hayward back in the lineup later this year were dashed last night by Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein.

Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night for a fractured and dislocated left tibia, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens had said earlier in the day that Hayward's prognosis would be better known after doctors saw the extent of the damage. When the operation was over, Bartelstein told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski not to expect Hayward to play again this season.

But there is good news:

MORE:

“We’re expecting this to be a full recovery,” Stevens had said earlier. “No timeline on it, but a full recovery.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE