Celtics

'Oh, that guy': Rondo brushes off question on Allen

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'Oh, that guy': Rondo brushes off question on Allen

Rajon Rondo's offseason tour has brought him from Asia with Red Bull to New York City Fashion Week with GQ. On Tuesday, he stopped by BET's "106 & Park". He talked the upcoming season, but didn't have much to say about Ray Allen.

BET: Have you talked to Jesus? Have you talked to Ray Allen, man?
Rondo: Oh, that guy.
BET: Ohh.
Rondo: I talk to the Lord.
BET: You say you what?
Rondo: To the Lord.

Allen, nicknamed "Jesus Shuttlesworth" for the character he played in the movie "He Got Game," signed with the Miami Heat in July as an unrestricted free agent. Following his departure from the Boston Celtics, reports buzzed of a soured relationship between the two guards.

Their roles changed significantly during the five seasons they played together. Over the years, Rondo, 26, transformed from a pass-first point guard who took a backseat to his Hall of Fame-bound veteran teammates to the Celtics floor general that looked for his shot more and more frequently as he developed. Allen, on the other hand, got less touches as time went on. Just over a year after becoming the NBAs all-time leading three-point shooter, the 16-year veteran was moved to the Celtics bench as their back up shooting guard behind 21-year-old Avery Bradley following injury setbacks.

When it came time to determine the next step in his career, Allen, 37, turned down more money with the Celtics and inked a deal with the defending NBA champions. Last month Celtics head coach Doc Rivers spoke on the two star players, insisting the finger should be pointed at him for Allen's departure, not Rondo.

"People can use all the Rondo stuff and it was there, no doubt about that but it was me more than Rondo," Rivers told Yahoo! Sports. "I'm the guy who gave Rondo the ball. Think about everything Allen said when he left, 'I want to be more of a part of the offense.' Everything was back at Rondo. And I look at that, and say, 'That's not Rondo's fault.' That's what I wanted Rondo to do, and that's what Rondo should've done."

Rondo is looking ahead to the upcoming season rather than focusing on the players who left. He has high expectations for the 2012-13 team and looks forward to competing alongside the new faces in the Celtics backcourt.

I think we'll be a lot better than last year, so I look forward to a great season, he said. I'm excited about the addition of players Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, so we'll be pretty good.

As for teams around the NBA who are compiling powerhouse lineups, Rondo isnt phased.

We're one of those teams, so I'm fine with it (laughs), he said. I think we have a good shot at winning this, so teams can do whatever.

The Celtics and Heat will face off on Opening Night in Miami on October 30.

To get to 15, C's need to keep up the D

To get to 15, C's need to keep up the D

BOSTON – If you were to deconstruct the building blocks of the Celtics' 14-game winning streak, you would find the foundation lies in what they’re able to accomplish defensively.
 
And to the Celtics’ credit, their defense has been challenged in a multitude of ways already.

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They have managed to beat teams with great one-on-one talent (Golden State), those that rely heavily on athleticism and length (Milwaukee) as well as those that put a premium on sharing the ball (Philadelphia), which will be among the ways Atlanta could potentially challenge the Celtics tonight.
 
While the Hawks (3-12) have had their struggles this season, it hasn’t necessarily been because of selfish play offensively.
 
Atlanta averages 327.9 passes per game, which ranks third in the NBA.
 
The problem hasn’t been getting players the ball; it’s what happens – or doesn’t happen – when they get it.
 
Despite being a top three passing team, the Hawks average 22.9 assists, 10th in the NBA. And they're connecting on 45.5 percent of their shots from the field, 14th in the league.
 
For Boston to continue its winning ways, it’ll again be because their defense will have taken away things the Hawks love to do.
 
When it comes to scoring, Atlanta has been one of the NBA’s best at generating offense off screens.
 
Despite having an offense that ranks 19th in scoring (104.2) this season, Atlanta has been among the league leaders when it comes to scoring off screens.
 
In fact, only two NBA teams (Golden State and Cleveland) have generated more points off screens this season than Atlanta (141).
 
That still shouldn’t be a major issue for the Celtics defense, which allows a league-low 94.1 points per game and has shown the ability to find success against any and every kind of offense.
 
Here are five below-the-radar storylines heading into tonight’s game between two teams at opposite ends of the success spectrum this season.
 

KYRIE IN THE CLUTCH
It’s one thing to score a bunch of points, but it takes a special player to do it in the latter stages of play, especially against an elite team that knows you’re looking to get points any way possible. We saw Kyrie Irving shrug off a horrible shooting night (4-for-16) in the 92-88 win over Golden State that included him draining all seven of his fourth-quarter free throws. But Irving coming through when the game counts shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. According to NBA.com/stats, Irving is averaging a league-best 5.8 points in “clutch” situations (last five minutes of a game with the margin being five points or less), ahead of notable standouts Damian Lillard (5.0) of Portland who is second and ex-teammate LeBron James (4.6) who ranks behind Irving, Lillard and Miami’s Dion Waiters (4.9).
 

HIGHS, LOWS FOR HORFORD
Although he spent nine seasons in Atlanta, it has been anything but a sweet homecoming for Al Horford statistically speaking. In the four games he has played against his former team, Horford has averaged 8.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, which are his lowest career scoring and rebounding averages against any team. However, the 5.8 assists he averages against the Hawks represents his highest career average in that category against any team.
 

JAYLEN BROWN
His athleticism has always made Jaylen Brown a standout and the way he has shot the ball this season in clutch situations has stood out as well. But what hasn’t been talked much about is his defense against 3-point shooters. NBA.com/stats lists Brown with 67 contested 3’s this season. That's tops in the NBA. And his 4.2 contested 3’s per game rank sixth in the league.
 

DENNIS SCHRODER
When you see the numbers, it’s clear that much of what the Atlanta Hawks do these days is centered around Dennis Schroder. But upon deeper inspection, it’s apparent that Atlanta is literally driven by the play of the 6-foot-1 point guard. Known for his attacking style of basketball, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he’s one of the league’s best at getting to the rim. According to NBA.com/stats, Schroder leads the NBA with 19.1 drives per game. The closest Celtic in that category is Irving who averages 9.7 drives per game which ranks 38th in the league.
 

TAUREAN PRINCE
With Schroder looking to run out in transition as much as possible, Taurean Prince has been more than willing to help fill lanes and provide an option for Schroder to pass to on the break. That has led to lots of spot-up shot opportunities for Prince this season. He comes into tonight’s game averaging 5.4 spot-up possessions per game, which ranks third in the NBA behind Detroit’s Tobias Harris (6.3) and New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins (6.2).
 
 
 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hawks

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Hawks

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Hawks in Atlanta. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: C's defense looks to keep up historic pace

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