Celtics

Parker wins PG battle vs. Rondo

964175.jpg

Parker wins PG battle vs. Rondo

SAN ANTONIO There's little argument that Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker are among the NBA's top point guards.

But who's better?

That all depends on what you want in a playmaker, but on Saturday night it wasn't even close.

Parker had the better floor game, more points and most important, his team came away with the win as the C's go 0-for-Texas following a 103-88 loss to San Antonio on Saturday.

The 6-foot-2 all-star point guard led all scorers with 22 points in addition to tallying eight assists while turning the ball over just one time.

"Tony Parker got on a roll," said Rondo who added, "they outplayed us."

San Antonio played a solid all-around game, winning just about every individual matchup on the floor - including the battle at the point between these two all-star playmakers.

"Obviously Tony was unbelievable down the stretch," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "But a lot of guys like Gary (Neal), Danny (Green), and Tiago (Splitter) played very solid basketball."

But as Popovich pointed out, it was Parker who down the stretch proved to be the difference-maker for the Spurs who snapped a two-game losing skid with Saturday's win.

Meanwhile, the Celtics (12-11) will not take to the court again until Tuesday at Chicago.

With all that time to practice, it could not come at a better time with the Celtics seemingly in need of as much time to work out their problems on the floor, as possible.

The two losses come after what has been a solid stretch of play that had the C's winning three of their four previous games.

Many problems have surfaced in the last two games, including an unusually high number of turnovers committed by Rondo.

Because he racks up so many assists, it's a given that he will pick up his share of turnovers.

But Saturday's game was his second straight in which he turned the ball over seven times - a trend that the C's need to see come to an end soon.

Rivers isn't sure exactly why Rondo's turnover numbers have been so high lightly, adding that he wouldn't rule out that the 27-year-old might be dealing with some level of fatigue as well.

"We shouldn't be fatigued, really," Rivers said. "Kevin (Garnett)? Yeah, maybe. Paul (Pierce)? Maybe. Other than that, we shouldn't be fatigued."

But as much as the turnovers committed by Rondo hurt the team, even more troubling on Saturday night was the missed shots - one missed shot in particular - that were just as problematic.

With the score tied at 55 in the third quarter and the game's momentum clearly sway in the Green Team's favor, Rondo missed what would have been a go-ahead basket.

San Antonio responded to his miss with 11 straight points that gave the Spurs their first double-digit lead of the game.

Boston continued to battle throughout the rest of the night, but failed to get any closer than five points afterward.

A big part of keeping the Celtics at bay was Parker who consistently managed to break down Boston's trapping defense and either score or set up his teammates for easy baskets.

"He's able to beat the traps. He's so quick getting around a big guy. He takes them on," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "A lot of guards accept the trap and swing it. He takes it on. He's been in those situations many, many times and he understands when to take on the trap and knows when to get rid of the ball; he has a great in-between game. That's what makes him one of the premier point guards in the league."

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the Celtics, the preseason went about as well as expected.
 
No serious, long-term injuries.

MORE:

They won every preseason game, even one in which the team’s second unit played the role of starters.
 
And the chemistry concerns with so many new players, while very real, didn’t seem to be that big an issue.
 
Still, as good as the Celtics may feel about where they stand, they know it means absolutely nothing unless they get it done against elite, NBA-caliber competition.
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Opening night.
 
It doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
 
And for the Celtics, win or lose, this is going to be a game for them to build upon going forward this season.
 
“I’m just ready to get going,” said Gordon Hayward. “A lot of things have happened this summer, a lot of buildup. I’m ready to get to the game. It’s going to be a fun matchup, for sure.”
 
Among the summer happenings was Boston and Cleveland pulling off one of the biggest blockbuster deals of the offseason with the Cavs trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic while also conveying Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick and Miami’s 2020 second-round pick to complete the deal.
 
Having spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers, there’s a certain amount of corporate knowledge that the 25-year-old Irving brings to tonight’s matchup.
 
“I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me,” Irving said. “There’s plenty of film on all of us, but specifically going back and understanding the way we played last year when I played with them and now how they’re playing with the new guys, understanding how to implement themselves into their new system plus me implementing myself into this system...There’s definitely some benefits on our end, there are some benefits on their end. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
 
Part of the challenge for the Celtics will be developing the kind of on-court cohesion to be successful, which is easier said than done when you’re talking about getting nearly a dozen players on the same page in just a few weeks.
 
“We have good chemistry as a group,” said Al Horford. “We still have a ways to go as far as keep getting comfortable with each other and keep figuring out our spots. But we feel good with what we have. Our young guys, it’s been remarkable how quickly they’ve been able to come along and be up to date with everything. And our new guys as well. They’re up to date, they know what we need to do. They understand the game plan. It’s been good.”
 
Players aren’t the only ones eager to get to tonight’s game.
 
“To have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc. is great,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It’s great to experience that in game one, a tremendous learning experience for our group, so we’re preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they’re really, really good. But this is..I’m looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”
 

'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

cleveland-cavaliers-isaiah-thomas-101117.jpg

'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

Isaiah Thomas told Sports Illustrated last week that he "might never talk to Danny [Ainge] again." And he sounded pretty bitter about his trade from the Celtics to the Cavs.

Now, on the "Road Trippin" podcast with new teammate Channing Frye and ex-Cav Richard Jefferson, Thomas, who is out until at least January with a hip injury, said those comments were misunderstood.

MORE:

“People took it the wrong way,” Thomas said. “I understand the business, I understand that we’re in position to get traded and sent to other teams and things like that. It’s just how it went down that I didn’t respect. As a man, I feel like if you respected me as much as you say you did, you would have at least informed me about what was going on before it happened. And that’s all I was talking about.

“I’m not tripping off the trade like I got traded to the Cavs and we’re going to win a championship. And at the end of the day, I’m going to be fine with that,” Thomas said. “[Ainge] sent me to an even better situation with a bigger platform. I’m blessed to be in the position, I’m grateful and I’m excited.”

The Cavs host the Celtics tonight in the season opener. 

Jae Crowder, who came to Cleveland from Boston, was also on the podcast and when Frye talked with him about players deserving communication from the front office, Thomas could be heard in the background, saying, “That’s what I’m talking about.”

“I already said what I’m doing," Thomas told Crowder about what he'll do should he run into Ainge. "I’m going to keep it pushing like he kept pushing when he traded me, I’m not going to disrespect him. He’s a man and I’m a man, too. Like, I’m going to go my way. I play for the Cavaliers and that’s what it is.”