Rondo finds new locker mate, mentor in Dooling


Rondo finds new locker mate, mentor in Dooling

For years, Rajon Rondo sat in the same spot in the Boston Celtics locker room. Once Ray Allen joined the team in 2007, he became the young point guards locker mate. On the other side, players rotated in and out.

This season Rondo has a new locker. The move to the other side of the Celtics locker room would not be so noticeable if not for his new neighbor -- veteran point guard Keyon Dooling.

For the first time in his career, Rondo is spending the entire season sitting next to his experienced back up. Hes hearing advice, gaining knowhow . . . and soaking it all up.

I think its big because hes a veteran point guard, Rondo told CSNNE.com. He has a lot of great information for me. I can learn a lot from him.

Locker-room assignments are made by a Celtics staff member. Even though Rondo didnt arrange the move himself, he welcomes the change of scenery. (It also happens to be the former locker of his best friend, Kendrick Perkins.)

Ive always been next to a big or Ray, Rondo explained. Ive learned so much from Ray already and Im still learning from each guy, but now its a different face, its a guy thats been in the league 10, 11 years, another veteran. He sees things from a different perspective. Its good to get that different feel or different opinion from someone else.

Just as Rondo, 25, is eager to learn, Dooling, 31, is just as excited to share his wisdom. Dooling joined the Celtics last month in the midst of trade rumors swirling around Rondo. He didnt judge his new teammate at first, but it didnt take long before he came to a conclusion.

Ray (his nickname for Rondo) is awesome. Im enjoying my time with him, Dooling told CSNNE.com. I heard about his reputation before I got here, of course, and I never judge a book by its cover, I never judge people off their reputation. All I can judge off is the time that we spend together and hes been amazing to me so far. Im enjoying it.

While Dooling waited to get to know Rondo as a person, he already had formed a strong opinion of him as an athlete. Dooling, in fact, has told his young son he wants him to play like Rondo (he did note with a smile that he wants him to shoot more).

Im a fan of him. I really like his game, said Dooling. I really like the way he plays, the toughness, the approach that he takes in a day when most of the point guards are like hybrid point guards, like Derrick Rose, guys that are scoring over 20 points, Russell Westbrook. Hes like an old-school throwback point guard who really plays just as aggressive as those guys but not necessarily aggressive to score.

Over the years, vets like Sam Cassell, Stephon Marbury and Carlos Arroyo have joined the Celtics at later points in the season. Only two weeks into the schedule, Rondo is already enjoying the benefits of having a veteran backup point guard on his team since training camp.

Rondo led the Celtics last season with 37.2 minutes per game and 36.6 the year before. This season he tops the C's with 36.5 minutes per game. While he is only in his 20s, it still helps to have a reliable player behind him, especially when playing a condensed schedule.

Its different, its a first for me, said Rondo. Its more reassuring, I think, as far as when I come out the games, Im not worried about, I have to get back in there and do something for my team. I can rest, get a lot more down time, rest my body, and a lot less worries.

As significant as giving him a break on the court, Dooling also looks forward to making an impact on Rondo away from basketball.

I want to encourage him, I want to help him as well, said Dooling. Though hes 20-times the player that I will ever be, its lessons that you can learn in your approach, on your daily approach, the way I approach the game, the way I handle my teammates. Little things like that off the court can translate to better results on the court.

Its already resonating.

He teaches about beyond basketball, said Rondo, Stuff off the court, family issues, growing and being a businessman. Theres a lot of different venues and different outlets hes trying to teach me, which is also a good thing for me.

This season Dooling plans to wear Rondos sneakers from his overflowing collection of Nike brand kicks. With so many shoes, Rondo is happy to share.

We wear the same size shoes, Rondo smirked. Right now I have kind of an unlimited amount of shoes so I have to get rid of some. I told him if anybody ever needs some shoes, they can have as many as they want when Im not playing with them.

The two have already taken the first steps -- literally -- to developing a solid relationship.

For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making


For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making

BOSTON – Beating the Atlanta Hawks 110-99 on Saturday did more than just pad the win total for the Boston Celtics.
It moved them even further up the food chain to what has already been a pretty amazing season.
Saturday’s win was their 15th straight, which places them in the penthouse of great Celtics runs of success.
Only four other teams in this franchise's storied history have won more consecutive games than this year’s group.
Here at NBC Sports Boston, we take a look back at the four teams that are ahead of the Celtics in what has been one of the greatest streaks in franchise history.

19 straight wins:  Nov. 15, 2008 – Dec. 23, 2008
Fresh off claiming Banner 17, the Celtics were determined to take their place among the all-time great Celtics teams by winning a second straight NBA title. They seemed well on their way with a 15-2 start to the season and of course, their 19-game winning streak. But what turned into a season-ending knee injury suffered by Kevin Garnett later in the year derailed their date with destiny and instead ended with them being upset by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs , brining a quicker-than-expected end to one of the best regular seasons in franchise history.

18 straight wins: Feb. 24, 1982 – March 26, 1982
Boston was still considered the best team in the East, although Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers were very much closing the gap. The Celtics dodged a number of close calls during the streak with seven games decided by five points or less, including a 98-97 overtime win at Washington in which the Bullets (now Wizards) went into the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead. The Celtics’ streak eventually came to an end at the hands of the Sixers, which, in hindsight, served as a precursor for Boston losing to Dr. J and the Sixers in the playoffs.

17 straight wins: Nov. 28, 1959 – Dec. 30, 1959
The Celtics were defending NBA champions and seemingly off to a strong start, only to lose back-to-back games to Philadelphia. While it was still early in the season, they knew they had to quickly right the ship. And they did. During the 17-game winning streak, 12 were by double-digits with only three by five points. The streak ended on New Year’s Day 1960. But by then, the Celtics had re-established their presence atop the NBA landscape and would go on to claim the second of eight straight NBA titles.

16 straight wins: Dec. 19, 1964 – Jan. 22, 1965
There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that this Celtic team was going to have a special season. They got things going with an 11-0 record right out the gate. And they weren’t just winning games; they were thumping teams with flat-out beatdowns, which is evident by their average margin of victory being by 18.5 points per game. That’s not all that surprising when you consider most of Boston’s core group consisted of players in their prime such as Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn. The streak began with a double-digit win over the St. Louis Hawks and would roll along for another couple of weeks. During both the start of the season and the 16-game winning streak, both cemented Boston as the team everyone was chasing. And no one caught them. The Celtics continued to be the dominant force in the league and the season ended with another title, which was the franchise’s seventh straight.

Celtics need to let Morris continue feasting on seconds


Celtics need to let Morris continue feasting on seconds

It gets harder to find problematic areas when a team wins 15 straight, like the Boston Celtics have.
But there are some. Boston’s inability to develop a consistent scoring threat when the second-unit players are on the floor hasn’t cost them a game yet, but you can see it coming if they don’t address this at some point.
Well, the answer to their second-unit struggles may be staring them right in the face – Marcus Morris.
While he does go back and forth as a starter, keeping him on the floor in the second quarter with the second unit makes sense for all involved.
Morris is a better scorer than many expected, but opportunities aren’t as plentiful with the first group. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are the top two options. The team’s young wings, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, probably stack up slightly higher in the scoring pecking order than Morris.
So for him to get quality looks with the second unit in the second quarter not only helps the team offensively, but it keeps Morris even more engaged than he already is.
We saw that in Saturday’s win over the Hawks.
Morris had 14 points, with 10 coming in the second quarter when he was surrounded primarily with players off the bench.
 “We need Marcus quite a bit,” said coach Brad Stevens. “We’re still managing his minutes appropriately as he comes back.”
Morris missed the first eight games of the season because of a sore left knee. Since his return, his minutes have been capped at around 25 or less, in addition to not playing back-to-back nights..

But as he continues to play a more significant role, look for his minutes -- and his role as a primary scorer in the second quarter -- to increase.
“He brings us scoring," Stevens said. "He brings us defense, he brings us toughness, and we really needed his scoring (against Atlanta), his ability to shoot the ball both off broken plays and off movement.”
Here’s a look at five other takeaways from Boston’s 110-99 win at Atlanta to extend the team’s winning streak to 15 in a row which is the fifth-longest streak in franchise history.


The improvement in Jaylen Brown has been evident all season, but it's really spiked the last two games. The second-year wing player dropped 22 points on Golden State Thursday, then followed that up with a career-high 27 Saturday. Conventional wisdom tells you not to bank on Brown delivering like that on a consistent basis. But as a former No. 3 overall pick who works as hard as Brown does . . . would anyone be surprised if this becomes a new-norm when it comes to Brown?

Early foul trouble and an overall lack of flow offensively had Al Horford looking at having his first game of the season with a negative plus/minus. At the half he was at -16. Then came the Celtics’ second half surge which saw them turn a 16-point deficit in the first half into a double-digit victory. And Horford’s plus/minus? For the game he stood at +2, keeping his streak alive of having a positive plus/minus in every game played this season.

An efficient scoring Kyrie Irving is an NBA team’s worst nightmare. One of the league’s well-established scorers, Irving was just too much for the Atlanta Hawks to handle. And the end result was one of the most efficient scoring nights in Irving’s career as he tallied a game-high 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting.

For the second straight game, Jayson Tatum did not begin playing his best basketball until the second half. Against the Hawks, Tatum scored all of his 14 points in the second half. And in Thursday’s win over Golden State, 10 of his 12 points came in the second half. “For whatever reason he was pretty tentative (in the first half),” said Stevens. “He’s a good player, so struggles aren’t going to last long. He’ll figure it out.”

There’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes to Marcus Smart’s shooting. Against the Hawks, he had 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. Now the numbers won’t wow you, but they are a huge step in the right direction in comparison to how he has been chucking up shots lately. In Boston’s previous five games, Smart was a face-cringing 10-for-52 shooting, or 19.2 percent from the field. Even with all the impact he makes consistently with his defense and effort, that number has to continue to improve if Boston is able to continue along its winning ways.