Celtics

Rondo back on the court for Kentucky

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Rondo back on the court for Kentucky

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
This week Rajon Rondo returned to Kentucky to put on a show in front of his hometown and college crowds. The Louisville native and former University of Kentucky player participated in the highly anticipated UK Pros - Dominican Republic basketball games organized by Wildcats head coach John Calipari.

Rondo was joined by fellow NBA players John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Keith Bogans, and Nazr Mohammed, among others on the Kentucky squad. The Dominican Republic team included Al Horford, Francisco Garcia, and Edgar Sosa.
A look back at Rondos week . . .

Getting Hyped on Twitter

With seats in high demand, Rondo held a contest to win a pair of tickets to the first game: Send me your best photo wearing your Kentucky blue to win the 2 UK tix to mondays game. Ill announce the winner tmrrw Noon ET Wildcats.

The winner impressed him with a room full of Wildcats gear and memorabilia and a splash of Celtics attire. (The fan later tweeted, @RajonRondo Thanks Rajon for the tickets! Best pg in the league! Wildcats BBN.)

Rondo later tweeted several messages expressing excitement, and even asked fans for their opinion on which sneakers to wear:

Game Day

"Which Shoe should I play in tonight? Uniform color doesn't matter http:yfrog.comh2nfagnj"

Thanks for the support tonight. Had a lot of Fun. Rematch tomorrow

Can't wait to do it again tonight taps.lapvOnv9"
Game Day(s)

In Monday's game in Lexington, a 106-88 victory by the Dominican Republic, Rondo scored three points (1-5 FG, 0-1 3PG, 1-2 FT), dished seven assists, and grabbed seven rebounds in 33 minutes. He led the team in assists (Wall and Bogans had two apiece) while finishing second in boards behind only Cousins (14).

The Dominican Republic earned another victory, 91-86, on Tuesday in Louisville. Rondo scored 14 points (7-18 FG, 0-4 3PG, 0-2 FT), pulled down five rebounds, and had four of Kentucky's six assists in 35 minutes.

Addressing the Media

Following Tuesday's game, Rondo sat down with Mohammed to address the media. And the interview wasn't without a classic Rondo one-liner either. After Mohammed offered a lengthy response to a question about the NBA lockout, Rondo concisely replied, "Correct. A few excerpts from his postgame interview:

On the NBA lockout:

"Right now we're just preparing as if it is a regular season. We've been working out together a little bit, just trying to stay ready, stay in shape, and get better each year. So it hasn't officially started as far as checks coming in stop coming in, but it's a dead period right now."

"Really just go with the flow, really. There's nothing we can do really right now, it's just a matter of waiting til both sides come to an agreement. It's just what it is right now."

On fan support at the games:

"I haven't even played here before but I had a good time. I had a great reception. Obviously it's a lot of Kentucky fans here, so I just tried to come out and give the guys a show and play hard."

"They come out back-to-back nights and support us. Great ovations, great fan participation, so we can't thank the fans enough and we tried to come out there and put on a show for them."

On camaraderie among Kentucky alumni:

"It's just a matter of respect. We all went to the same university and we're all in the league right now. We just have a lot of respect for each other. We all know what we've been through and the journey we took to get to where we are, and that's just what it's about."

Kentucky Camaraderie Continues

The camaraderie mentioned by Rondo was expressed by many of the players on Twitter before, during, and after the games, including:

Wall re-tweeted Lexington-nativeWashington Wizards rookie Shelvin Mack: Headed to Rupp later to support my teammate @jimmywa11 and big homie @RajonRondo......
Mohammed tweeted: We have a lot of great talent from UK in the NBA. It was fun to play with @jimmywa11 @boogiecousins @EBled24 @RajonRondo Jodie, Tay & Keith

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

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.

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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:

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

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