Celtics

Rondo, Celtics have up and down night

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Rondo, Celtics have up and down night

ATLANTA For about two minutes on Tuesday, Rajon Rondo might have been the best player in the NBA with the way he was knocking down jumpers, getting steals and finding teammates for alley-oops.

But his play, like the Boston Celtics as a team, was filled with spurts of success followed by stretches in which they struggled.

Those rough times far outweighed the good ones, leading to a disappointing 87-86 loss for the Celtics.

Boston still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 in Boston on Thursday.

Rondo had a typical Rondo-esque night, finishing with 13 points, 12 assists and five steals along with five turnovers.

The C's love it when Rondo is aggressive, but there's no getting around the fact that while he made some really clutch shots, he missed a ton of them, too.

His 13 points scored came on 6-for-17 shooting which is an inefficient night shooting the ball by anyone's standards.

Making matters worse for the Celtics was that Rondo's poor shooting night came in the same game that Pierce (7-for-17 shooting) had his shooting struggles as well.

"There's nights like Sunday when Paul makes all his shots, and then there's nights like tonight when he and I had low field goal percentages," Rondo said.

Even with his poor shooting, the C's realize without Rondo's spurt of brilliance, they would have never had a shot at stealing a victory.

Trailing 66-54 with less than three minutes to play in the third, the Celtics went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter.

During that stretch, an alley-oop pass to Ryan Hollins, a lay-up, a steal and subsequent jumper and then another lay-up. Capping off the 10-0 run was a reverse lay-up by Mickael Pietrus.

"It was tremendous," Pierce said of Rondo's play in the final minutes of the third quarter. "He took over the game there in the third when it looked like it could have really gotten out of hand, and we fought back."

Said Ray Allen: "He (Rondo) played great. Down the stretch, his energy was always moving forward. At the end, it was unfortunate. If we had one more time-out, it would have been a different scenario. So, we have to go back to the drawing board."

And in the game's final seconds, Rondo had what appeared to be a chance to save the C's one last time.

Atlanta had the ball with 10.9 seconds to play. When they tried to in-bound the ball to Joe Johnson, Rondo intercepted it and began to head up court. With no time-outs remaining, he had no choice but to attack quickly. With his former prep school teammate Josh Smith defending, Rondo ran a quick pick-and-roll with Kevin Garnett that resulted in Al Horford switching out on Rondo.

Horford's defense led to Rondo losing control of the ball as Smith deflected it towards the sideline as time expired.

It was a fitting end to the kind of night it was for Rondo and the Celtics, one with a slew of successful stretches of play - but not enough to get the victory.

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
 
But six?
 
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

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And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
 
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
 
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
 
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
 
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
 
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
 
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
 
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
 
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
 
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
 
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
 
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
 
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”
 

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

BOSTON – As expected, the NBA has fined Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for using “inappropriate language” toward a fan at the Friday night game in Philadelphia.
 
The incident occurred at halftime as Irving and his teammates were heading to the locker room, trailing by four. Boston went on to win 102-92 for their first victory of the season.
 
A fan yelled, “Hey, where’s LeBron?” to which Irving replied with a lewd suggestion to the yeller.
 
The Celtics practiced on Saturday with Irving addressing the incident.

When asked if he had any regrets about the incident, Irving replied, “Hell no. Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s social media platform we live on.
 
Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”
 
When asked about the incident on Saturday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had not seen the video but was aware of it.
 
“People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on,” Stevens said. “There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”

It was the second such fine levied by the league in as many days. 

New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 for "inappropriate language" toward a fan when the Pelicans lost 103-91 at Memphis on Wednesday.