Negative test for Rondo, positive news for C's


Negative test for Rondo, positive news for C's

By A. Sherrod Blakely

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics got a bit of good news on the injury front Sunday when the MRI results for Rajon Rondo came back negative.

Rondo suffered a dislocated left elbow in the third quarter, but somehow managed to return to the floor at the start of the fourth to help propel the Celtics to a 97-81 Game 3 victory.

When coach Doc Rivers was asked about Rondo's elbow, he said: "It hurts. And obviously it was far more painful today in some ways; a lot of swelling. That was expected."

Even with the MRI results coming back negative, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll see him play his usual minutes, or even at all.

"If he can play, how well can he play, and can he help our team?" Rivers said when asked what criteria will be used to determine if Rondo will participate in Game 4 Monday night. "We're not going to do anything, number one, to hurt the player. And we're not going to do anything to hurt the team. It may not be until game time, it may not be until in the game, that we find out (if he can play). Either one of those would be awful, but right now that may be the case."

The Celtics also have some concern about Rondo's backup Delonte West, who suffered a left shoulder injury in the first half of Boston's Game 3 victory, which cut the Heat's lead in the best-of-seven series, to 2-1.

West finished with 11 points off the Celtics bench - tops among C's reserves.

While West still has some soreness, it does not appear to be severe enough to limit him from at least playing in Game 4 on Monday.

"Delonte's injury, I think it'll come down to what he can tolerate," Rivers said.

Rivers said Shaquille O'Neal, who returned to the lineup for the first time since April 3, had some swelling as well.

"I think he's going to have that for the rest of his years," Rivers said.

Throughout the regular season, the Celtics have been dealing with an assortment of injuries.

So to have a number of key players banged up during the playoffs, that's just par for the course, for this Celtics team.

"If they're on the floor, we're healthy," Rivers said. "That's been my motto since I've been here, and our guys believe that. If you're in uniform, you're healthy. We'll make no excuses Monday . . . it's a playoff game. It's Game 4. We have to win. That's all we need to think about."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

Blakely's takeaways: C's put entire league on notice

BOSTON – You had to figure Golden State’s explosive offense would probably come up a little short scoring-wise against the Boston Celtics and their top-rated defense. 

But for them to score 88 points – that’s about 32 below their average – was very one of those, “where the hell did that come from?” moments. 

And it was exactly what the Celtics needed to escape with a 92-88 win that extended their winning streak to 14 in a row but maybe most important, put the entire league on notice that this streak they’re on right now … it’s real. 

“They wrote us off coming in, saying Golden State was gonna beat us, and do this and do that,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “We came out and played basketball. Even though we got down, the make-up of our team is staying in; we’re resilient.”

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s signature win of the season, 92-88 over Golden State which extended Boston’s winning streak to 14 straight. 



Jaylen Brown was playing with a heavy heart less than 24 hours after the death of his best friend. But as we’ve seen in this still-young season, Brown is very much one of the league’s emerging talents. He certainly played that role on Thursday in leading Boston with 22 points with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.  



There’s something about the second half of games against elite players that brings out the best in Jayson Tatum. When Boston opened the season at Cleveland, Tatum was noticeably better in the second half than the first. And in Thursday’s win over Golden State, it was more of the same. In the first half he had just two points only to finish with a 10-point second half (7 coming in the fourth) for a 12-point game on 2-for-5 shooting. 



As well as he’s played, a strong case can be made for Horford being a league MVP instead of their leading scorer, Kyrie Irving. Horford tallied a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds to go with a pair of assists. Horford now has six double-doubles this season which equals his double-double total from all of last season. 



As much as you know Smart makes great effort plays consistently and does indeed make a difference when he’s on the court, his shooting woes are reaching critical mass even as Boston continues to gobble up wins. In the last five games, Smart has averaged 7.6 points. That’s not too bad, right? But then you look and see that he’s shooting 19.2 percent (10-for-52) in that span. Ouch! So far, the Celtics have been able to find success despite his shooting struggles. But you have to anticipate at some point it’ll catch up with them. 



For most of this season, pretty much everyone who suits up for the Celtics, have played. But against the Warriors, it had the feel of a playoff-like rotation with head coach Brad Stevens playing 10 guys with nine reaching double digits in minutes played. Considering how the second unit struggled to make shots (they missed 17 of their 19 shot attempts), it’s understandable why head coach Brad Stevens leaned a little heavier than usual on his second unit.