Celtics

Rondo (finger) sits out versus Timberwolves

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Rondo (finger) sits out versus Timberwolves

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MINNEAPOLIS You can add Rajon Rondo to the list of Boston Celtics out with an injury.

Felger: Celtics sending sulking Rondo a message?

Coach Doc Rivers said before Sunday's game here that Rondo would not play against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and that he's questionable for Monday's game at Indiana.

Rondo has been dealing with a right pinkie injury for a couple of weeks, and re-aggravated the injury in practice on Saturday.

"It's nothing bad," Rivers said of Rondo's injury. "Obviously, if it was a playoff game or something like that, he would be playing."

Rivers said Delonte West, who has been coping with a right ankle sprain, got the starting nod with Carlos Arroyo serving as his backup.

Rondo became the latest Celtics player to suffer an injury in practice.

Both West and Troy Murphy suffered ankle injuries in recent Celtics practices.

Murphy, whose right ankle was in a boot recently, also did not play Sunday.

In addition to Murphy and Rondo, the C's are also still without Shaquille O'Neal (right legfoot), Jermaine O'Neal (left knee) and Von Wafer (right calf).

"Our practices have become, like, freaking deadly," Rivers said. "I was joking the other day we shouldn't practice anymore. I may be getting serious about that because the last three practices, we've had someone injured. It's amazing."

Rondo has been getting the finger taped up, but there has been little progress made in terms of it healing.

That doesn't come as a surprise to Rivers.

"With those fingers, they don't heal the rest of the year," Rivers said. "Even when he gets back, someone is going to hit your hand when you're a guard. That's just life as a guard. So when you do have one of those jammed fingers, and that's basically what it is, it keeps getting worse and worse, rarely better."

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

Morris returns to Celtics starting lineup vs. Magic

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Morris returns to Celtics starting lineup vs. Magic

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics will turn to a familiar starting lineup as they try to get back on their winning ways following Wednesday’s loss at Miami.
 
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Marcus Morris will be in the starting lineup tonight against Orlando, joining the usual Celtics foursome of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford.

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Morris’ availability tonight was not a given, similar to it being in question prior to Wednesday’s game against the Heat.
 
Morris has been dealing with soreness in his left knee which kept him out for the first eight games of the season and has limited his playing time since then.
 
Stevens said Morris will likely not play against Indiana on Saturday but no final decision has been made. Since returning to the lineup, the Celtics have played Morris with a minutes restriction in addition to not allowing him to play in any back-to-back games.

Morris has made it clear that he does not like having his playing time limited while not playing in any back-to-backs, but has repeatedly he understands why it is being done and won’t fight what the coaching and medical staff believe is best for him and the team.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics' bounce-back ability put to the test

Celtics' bounce-back ability put to the test

BOSTON – When it comes to bouncing back from defeat, the Celtics don’t have a ton of experience with that this season.
 
As impressive as their 16-game winning streak was, a truer sense of where this team is at lies in how they respond.

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Their first chance to bounce back comes tonight against the Orlando Magic (8-10) who will put Boston’s team cohesion to the test.
 
With so many new players to the roster this season, it has been somewhat surprising how well players have come together. It was instrumental to Boston’s winning streak, which was the fourth-longest in franchise history.
 
“It’s two things,” said Al Horford. “A lot of credit to coach [Brad Stevens], really setting the emphasis on the things that he expects from our group. And then credit to our younger guys and our guys in general, to pick up those concepts and play for each other out there on the defensive end. That’s what we try to do every night.”
 
When you talk about Boston’s young players, it begins with the rapid improvement of second-year wing Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I just think that they’re starting to see, to understand the game more especially on the offensive end,” Horford said. “I think they’re starting to identify reads. It’s a process. They’re going to keep learning; it’s a long season. But that’s the one thing, from the beginning of the season until now, I feel like they have the ability to read plays and make plays for themselves and others.”
 
Here are five under-the-radar storylines heading into tonight’s game at TD Garden: 
 


STREAKING MAGIC
The Magic are on a bit of a streak, but not the kind any team would like to have. They come in having lost six in a row. The Magic have struggled to knock down 3-point shots and rebound in that span. They're ranked among the league’s bottom 10 in both categories.
 

THE PAINT GAME
Boston has had its problems scoring in the paint this season, averaging 38.5 points, which ranks 27th in the NBA. But that might change tonight against a Magic team that has been among the worst limiting points in the paint all season. Scratch that. They are the worst, giving up a league-high 51.0 points in the paint this season.
 

WICKED TOUGH SCHEDULE
Boston’s 16-game winning streak was impressive, especially when you consider their schedule which included their past eight games being played in a 16-night stretch with a game every other day. It’s not so much the challenge of so many games close together, but the inability to have any time to practice. “For a young team like ours, practice is really important,” Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston earlier this season. “But the schedule is what it is. You play every game as best you can, practice when you can practice and go from there.”
 

BACKUP POWER LOW
The Celtics got 34 points from their bench in Wednesday’s loss at Miami, an improvement over what the second unit has been able to deliver most of this season. They come into tonight’s game ranked dead-last in the NBA in shooting (33.5 percent) and next-to-last in 3-point shooting (27.7 percent). Scoring-wise, they average 28.6 points, which ranks 24th in the league, but log an average of 18.8 minutes which ranks 14th in the NBA. So why do they get major minutes? Because more often than not, they find a way to come out ahead of their second unit brethren. For the season, Boston’s bench has a plus/minus of +1.6 which ranks eighth in the league.
 

REBOUND SUCCESS
One of the biggest concerns for the Celtics coming into this season was rebounding. So far, so good. The Celtics average 47.2 rebounds per game, which ranks fourth in the NBA. To put that in perspective, if Boston maintains that average, it would be the franchise’s highest rebounding average in 40 years (49.8, 1977-78).