Bruins

Rondo shines, leads Celtics to victory with triple-double

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Rondo shines, leads Celtics to victory with triple-double

BOSTON A back injury to Chicago's Derrick Rose denied fans at TD Garden the point-guard battle so many love to see between him and Boston's Rajon Rondo.

So that left Rondo to put on a show all by himself . . . and did he ever.

Rondo came out in full-blown attack mode, tallying his second triple-double of the season in leading the Celtics to a 95-91 win over the Bulls.

"9 (Rondo) was edgy," said Kevin Garnett. "I loved it. He came out and set the tone. He got guys involved. He was all over the place."

After a rough game at Toronto on Friday night, Rondo shrugged it off and responded with a season-high 32 points to go with 15 assists and 10 rebounds.

The assists, we've seen plenty of times.

The 10 rebounds?

Yeah. Rondo has proven time and time again to be one of the NBA's best rebounding point guards.

But the 32 points, which came on an array of lay-ups, jumpers and free throws - free throws in the final seconds of play, mind you - certainly wasn't what the Bulls anticipated.

C.J. Watson, who probably got torched more by Rondo than anyone, said afterward that he was essentially defending Rondo the way Bulls coach and former C's assistant Tom Thibodeau, told him to.

When asked about defending Rondo, Watson said it wasn't difficult.

"I just kept going into the screens like Thibodeau was saying and that's what we are gonna do," Watson said. "We wanted him to shoot, but tonight he was making them."

Rondo was 11-for-22 from the floor. Of his 11 made baskets, four were jumpers of at least 11-feet out.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers believes Rondo's success - and the team as a whole for that matter - was due to them looking to run more.

Mission accomplished, as the C's outscored the Bulls, 33-7, in fast break points.

And while Rondo is the initiator most of the time when it comes to Boston's transition game, Rivers was quick to point out that Rondo needs the help of his teammates in order to really run well.

"It's not Rondo, it's the team," Rivers said. "The bigs have to run the floor. Paul (Pierce) and Ray (Allen) have to run the floor."

That opens things up for early post-play. It also allows Allen and Pierce opportunities for good-looking jumpers in transition. And for Rondo, it creates more space for him to attack - something he was intent on doing from the game's opening tip-off.

Rondo declined to speak to the media following the win.

Not to worry, though.

His teammates as well as the opposition had plenty to say about his performance.

"Rondo's a great player," said Thibodeau. "Even if you're defending him well, he still has the ability to make great plays and that team is very experienced and I think they're playing at a very high level."

Added Garnett: "When we win big, it's because the little fella is aggressive like that. I told him after tonight's game I was proud of him. He came out and played with that edge. Anytime he does that, it makes everybody's job around here easier."

Even young players like JaJuan Johnson find that the game is much easier when Rondo attacks the way he did on Sunday.

"He's one of the best point guards in the league; one of the leaders on this team," Johnson told CSNNE.com. "We definitely needed one of our big, our main guys to step up. He was able to do that for us. That was big."

So was the win, one of the few this season by Boston over an elite team.

Even though it came with the league's reigning MVP (Rose) out, Rivers doesn't believe that should take away from the victory.

"In this season, every win is a marquee win, with the shortened season," Rivers said. "To me, every win is important. You just gotta get wins, as many as you can get. And then stack them up at the end of the year."

And a big part of that for the Celtics will be players like Rondo doing what they're supposed to do, more consistently.

"The reason we win," Garnett said, "is because guys know their role and they know their role well."

Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

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Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s been a few different stints with a few different NHL teams for 25-year-old Kenny Agostino, so he knows the drill at this point in his pro hockey career. The Bruins signed Agostino as a free agent on July 1 after he led the AHL in scoring last season, and they gave him a one-way contract as a show of proof that he’d get his chances at the NHL level.

It didn’t happen immediately out of camp as Agostino was felled by a concussion for part of the preseason, but he’ll get his chance now with injuries and ineffectiveness creating an opening for him on the Black and Gold. Agostino should get a look as the left winger on the third line after lighting it up in Providence with two goals and seven points in his first three games with the P-Bruins, and he’s looking forward to seizing another chance at the NHL level after stints with the Flames and Blues. 

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“I’ve been doing this a few years and I like to think I’ve developed my game outside of my offensive ability,” said the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Agostino, who had 24 goals and 83 points for the Chicago Wolves last season. “That’s kind of been my goal to become more of a complete player. I’m excited and looking forward to another opportunity and just want to make the most of it. I’m not looking past tonight.

“I was fortunate as a college guy to get my first pro experience at the NHL level in Calgary, but then you understand how difficult it is to establish yourself. You need a lot of different things. You need the right opportunity and you need to do well with it, so it makes you appreciate how great of an opportunity it is anytime you get to play in this league.”

Certainly, the Bruins are anxious to get a look at Agostino, and probably Peter Cehlarik at some point soon, and the lack of production from some of the NHL incumbents have fast-forwarded that process a little bit. Agostino will replace Ryan Spooner along the half-wall on the first power play unit, and perhaps he can add the kind of scoring touch in the bottom-6 that Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano haven’t been able to thus far.

“We know Kenny is going to start in Spooner’s power play spot, he’s done it before and he’s had some success at the lower levels when given that opportunity. Obviously he’ll play left behind [Brad] Marchand and [Jake] DeBrusk, probably on the third line spot,” said Cassidy. “He’s played with [Riley] Nash yesterday [at practice] so there’s a good chance he’ll play with him today.”

The Bruins certainly need a spark after limping out to a 2-3-0 start to the season in the first five games, so perhaps a hungry Agostino can do that while being given a legit chance to show what he can do by the Black and Gold. 

Tuukka Rask out indefinitely for Bruins with a concussion

Tuukka Rask out indefinitely for Bruins with a concussion

BRIGHTON, Mass – Tuukka Rask has been diagnosed with a concussion, and will be out indefinitely for the Bruins after getting trucked in Wednesday’s Bruins practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

The good news is that the 30-year-old Rask hasn’t previously dealt with concussion issues in his NHL career, but the bad news that it looked like a fairly serious concussion after Anders Bjork crashed into him during line rush drills at Bruins practice. It’s still unclear if Bjork caught an edge and crashed into Rask during drills, or if there was contact with another player that thrust the B’s rookie, who needed stitches on his chin as well, into the unsuspecting Bruins goalie for the rare violent collision during an off-day hockey practice. 

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“It’s not really easy. Last year I had a couple of collisions and it doesn’t feel good,” said Anton Khudobin. “Sometimes you get run over in a game and you kind of expect that it’s coming, but in the practices maybe you’re not expecting it. I don’t know. It’s not fun.” 

Rask had to be helped off the ice by his teammates and was spaghetti-legged and unsteady on his feet as he made his way off the way, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect him to miss 7-10 days at a minimum based on NHL concussion protocol. 

Clearly it’s a blow to the Bruins to lose their No. 1 goaltender while struggling to stabilize their game weeks into the regular season, and for Rask it continues a tough season where he’s off to a 1-3-0 start with a 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage behind a leaky defense. 

So Anton Khudobin will step in on Thursday night for Rask coming off a 29-save win over the Arizona Coyotes last weekend, and P-Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre will serve as Khudobin’s backup goalie on an emergency basis.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

It remains to be seen how quickly or slowly that Rask recovers from this concussion, but there is concern as more than a few NHL goalies have suffered from recurring issues once they start going down the path with concussion issues. 

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