Celtics

Friday FT's: Rondo playing ball, going back to school?

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Friday FT's: Rondo playing ball, going back to school?

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that may not have made the headlines but are still worth a read.

Want to see Rajon Rondo play basketball this summer?

Now Celtics fans can, thanks to University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari.

Calipari announced on Twitter the Dominican National Team will play against the Kentucky Pro Team on August 15 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY.

The Kentucky squad will feature eight former Wildcats currently in the NBA: Rondo,
John Wall, Tayshaun Prince, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Jodie Meeks, Nazr Mohammed, and Keith Bogans. They will be coached by Sam Bowie and Joe B. Hall.

The Dominican team, coached by Calipari himself, will have 12 players, including Al Horford, Francisco Garcia, and Charlie Villanueva.

According to Ticketmaster, tickets will go on sale Friday morning. Calipari also tweeted, Last thing. I will tweet the pre-sale passcode for tickets to the Dominican National Team exhibition game on Friday morning at 8 am ET."

And if youre worried about Rondos elbow, he looked pretty comfortable bending it earlier this week.

Rondo could be hitting the books this fall if he isnt hitting the court for the Celtics. On Thursday night Calipari tweeted:

I've heard from a few players that plan to enroll in school for the fall semester & also I'll tell u about my Friday special treat.

John Wall (@jimmywa11), Rajon Rondo (@rajonrondo) & Eric Bledsoe (@ebled24) all plan to enroll in the fall if the lockout continues. Kaboom!

Delonte West in Like a Lion
What do you get Delonte West for his 28th birthday? A lion cake, of course.

The crew at SLAM wrote: When one of Delonte Wests teammates celebrates their born day, he usually designs them a custom cake. So its fitting that today, on his 28th birthday, Wests family surprised him with a personalized cake from Creative Cakes Inc.

Click through the slideshow to check out Wests birthday cake.

Before West celebrated his birthday on Tuesday, he released a video of two songs from his upcoming debut mixtape, Lockout. SLAM had the preview of Its Bout 2 Go Down and Mr. Magnificent.

Shaqs Top Ten

There is always something interesting to find on Shaquille O'Neal's Twitter page, and this week he linked to "Shaq's Celebrity Top Ten Playlist" on YouTube. O'Neal, or rather his own mini-me, previewed his ten favorite videos, ranging from career highlights to pranks caught on tape to moments from his comedy shows. Always the entertainer, he leaves viewers with an extra performance at the end.

Celtics Tweet of the Week
@JaJuanJohnson: "HustleHard"

Birthdays of the Week

Gary Payton, who donned number 20 for the Celtics in the 2004-05 season, turned 43 on July 23 former Celtic-turned-Laker Rick Fox celebrated his 42 on July 24 Nenad Krstic, one of the first NBA players to sign overseas this summer, turned 28 on July 25 Delonte West, the recipient of the unique birthday cake noted above, turned 28 on July 26 Former Celtic Semih Erden, who was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, turned 25 on Thursday.
This Week in NBA History

On July 27, 1993, Reggie Lewis passed away at 27 years old. The Celtics selected Lewis out of Northeastern University with the 22nd overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. He averaged 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in six seasons with the Celtics. Dime Magazine compiled a series of commemorative videos looking back on Lewis career.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

PHILADELPHIA – Despite playing its second straight game without a key rotation player, the Boston Celtics did just enough to get their first win of the season, 102-92, over Philadelphia.

Boston (1-2) was led by Kyrie Irving’s game-high 21 points, but it was Shane Larkin's floor game down the stretch that truly catapulted Boston to its first win of the season.

Larkin, who was seeing action in large part because Marcus Smart was out with a left ankle injury, provided a huge spark in the fourth before finishing with 10 points and four assists.

He drained a 3-pointer that tied the game at 75-all, which was part of an 18-9 Celtics run.

The Sixers (0-2) were led by J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless who had 19 and 18 points, respectively. Joel Embiid got off to a slow start, but finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Boston played with a lead for most of the first half, but Philadelphia took over with a 7-0 run to end the second quarter and had the Celtics playing catch-up for all of the third and some of the fourth quarter.

Boston was once again short-handed, with Marcus Smart out with a left ankle injury. He replaced Gordon Hayward, whose left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s loss to Cleveland on Tuesday, is expected to keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

But with players out, that opens up opportunities for others to step up.

Larkin, who walked away from a contract overseas that would have paid about $5 million more than he’s making with the Celtics, was one of those players.

Aron Baynes, who got the start with Smart out, had 10 points and eight rebounds. Boston also got another strong game off the bench from Terry Rozier who had 14 points and seven rebounds

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE