Bulls list Rondo as 'out' for Game 6 vs. Celtics

Bulls list Rondo as 'out' for Game 6 vs. Celtics

CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls are listing Rajon Rondo as being “OUT” for Friday night’s Game 6 matchup against the Boston Celtics.
Rondo, speaking in Boston prior to the Bulls’ Game 5 loss, didn’t sound all that optimistic that his fractured right thumb would be healed in time to suit up for Game 6.
So why are the Celtics still preparing as though the four-time all-star will see action?
Because they know Rondo.
“He’s tough,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley, who saw first-hand Rondo play with a dislocated elbow when he was a member of the Celtics. “We used to say back then, you always want to play with your dogs; people that are going to play hard no matter what and just want to go out there and compete at a high level and that’s Rondo. If he’s hurt, he’s going to try to help his team no matter what and I know that.
Bradley added, “that’s why I know it’s a possibility that he does come back Game 6, but that doesn’t change our game plan. It just makes the game that more fun. That’s what it’s all about, competing against the best players.”
Rondo’s toughness and grit has never been questioned, but this is a different kind of injury.
We’re talking about his thumb to his ball-handling, dominant hand.
And for someone who is such a pass-first, and second and third and … type of player, Rondo has to give some thought to potentially making the injury worst if it’s not fully healed.
As tough as Rondo is, he’s also smart enough to know whether his return at would be significantly less than his best, would help the Bulls at this point in the series.
Prior to Game 3, the Celtics had already implemented a game plan on how they wanted to play with the assumption that Rondo was going to play.
When the Celtics learned that he was going to be out, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said the team’s game plan didn’t change.
And whether he plays or not in Game 6, Stevens reiterated his team’s approach and preparation won’t be altered.
“It’s not going to change how we are trying to play on either end of the floor,” Stevens told reporters prior to the team’s practice at the United Center on Thursday. “And I think that’s something we evaluated after Game 2. We kind of determined a course of action before we knew that he was out. So regardless of if he’s out or not, we’re going to have to play our best game tomorrow night. We know that.”

Prior to suffering the injury in Game 2, Rondo was instrumental in the Bulls winning Games 1 and 2 of this best-of-seven series, in Boston. In Games 3, 4 and 5 - all with Rondo sidelined - the Celtics have been able to wrestle control of the series away from Chicago and can eliminate them on Friday with a win. 

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.