Rondo finds his shooting stroke in San Antonio


Rondo finds his shooting stroke in San Antonio

By A.Sherrod Blakely

SAN ANTONIO It was one of those games that Boston Celtics fans likely couldn't help but find themselves saying something they probably never thought they'd say: "Rondo, keep shooting the jump shot."

And the end result was an impressive 22-point, 14-assist night in helping the Celtics defeat the San Antonio Spurs, 107-97.

"Today, we kept moving the ball and Rondo kept taking shots," said coach Doc Rivers. "It was terrific. They just found the shots, and Rondo stepped up and took shots."

Rondo was 11-for-20 from the field, with seven of his made baskets being at least 13 feet away.

If he's knocking down those shots, and still managing to get his teammates involved, he becomes nearly unstoppable.

The Spurs' strategy against Rondo wasn't all that different than what most teams employ.

Rondo is at his best in transition, both as a scorer and as a distributor.

So defensively, you want to make it more of a half court game and force him to become a shooter.

The Spurs did just that -- and did he ever make them pay for it.

And when you factor in that Rondo is often on the floor with four other players who are even better shooters than he is, Rondo's ability to knock down jumpers makes the Celtics offense even more lethal.

"It gives them another scorer around the court," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "He did a great job of knocking down shots tonight."

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

Smart, Celtics unable to agree on contract extension prior to deadline

Smart, Celtics unable to agree on contract extension prior to deadline

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.


While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”


All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday


All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- A sprained left ankle injury kept LeBron James out of all but one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason games, and has created a certain element of uncertainty as to whether he’ll play against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. 
While it has yet to be determined for sure if he’ll play, all indications are that the 15-year veteran will be in the starting lineup as the Cavs kick off their quest to remain the team to beat in the East.

“I never hide stuff from you guys. I really don’t know,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked if James would play against the Celtics. “Depending on how he feels, but I really don’t know.”
However, James looked pretty comfortable shooting the ball after practice with a trio of former Celtics in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Jeff Green. 
And if you listen to the man who would likely start in James’ place -- J.R. Smith -- there’s nothing to worry about Cavs Nation. 
According to Smith, James will play. 
“We were talking about it, he’s never missed, since he was 8 years old and he started playing, he’s never missed a first game,” Smith said. “I’m preparing for him to play.”
Despite having played more than 41,000 minutes -- only 33 players in NBA history have done so -- James has been one of the game’s more durable players. Last season James he sat out only eight games, and that was the most he has missed in a single season.
 "He's gonna go [Tuesday]," Smith said. "He's gonna go, trust me [on] that. I don't care what he's gotta do, he's gonna play."