Capitals

Rivers says roles won't change without Rondo

Rivers says roles won't change without Rondo

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce showed up for his pre-practice meeting with reporters carrying a basketball, which he bounced from time to time while answering questions.

Get used to it: Pierce will have the ball in his hands a lot more from now on.

Two days after learning that Rajon Rondo has a torn knee ligament that will keep him out the rest of the season, the Celtics returned to practice for the first time to work on an extended future without the All-Star point guard. Pierce is the most likely player to handle the ball at key points in the game, but coach Doc Rivers says everyone will have to work to replace Rondo.

``It's just basketball,'' he said. ``There's no point guard. It's just basketball by committee. I don't want a guy thinking now he's Rondo.''

Rondo was averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game, with triple-doubles in back-to-back games when he was scratched from Sunday's game against the defending NBA-champion Miami Heat. He was sent to the hospital to check on what the team believed was a hyperextended right knee.

The actual diagnosis: A torn anterior cruciate ligament that required surgery and a recovery period of up to a year.

``Everybody was in a fog almost,'' center Kevin Garnett said at the team's workout facility. ``I think it's kind of settling in and I think everybody is trying to put their arms around the concept that he's actually hurt, hurt to the point where he can't play. That's what had everybody in a fog, even him.

``He came in this morning and seeing him in there was kind of unreal. The fact that it is real, everybody is going to consolidate and pick up the pieces and try to carry this thing.''

Rondo was injured in a double-overtime loss to Atlanta on Friday night, a game in which the Celtics blew a 27-point lead. Despite playing without their floor leader on Sunday - players didn't know the extent of the injury until after the game - they beat the Heat in Boston in double overtime to improve to 21-23 and hold onto a 2 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

They are back at the TD Garden on Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings. Rivers said he isn't sure who will bring the ball up the court - it will probably change from game to game depending on what the opponent is doing - but once the offense is set up he will expect everyone to be involved.

That's the way the Celtics played against Miami on Sunday.

Now they need to do it the rest of the season.

``It's a no-point-guard system,'' Rivers said, noting that his second unit has been playing that way all season. ``Now the entire team needs to do it. We have a lot of guards. We just don't have a lot of point guards.''

Rivers said Courtney Lee, who has been averaging 7.2 points and 1.4 assists in 22 minutes, will start for now. Leandro Barbosa, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and Jason Terry will also have the ball more without Rondo on the floor.

``I don't know if that's a role I'm going to have,'' said Barbosa, who backed up Steve Nash in Phoenix and is averaging 4.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 11 minutes in his first season with the Celtics. ``I'm not Rajon Rondo; I'm Leandro Barbosa. What I'm going to do is different for the team.

``I will do my best, but I'm not a point guard; I'm a shooting guard. I will do my best, but I'm not a Rajon Rondo.''

There is also the possibility that general manager Danny Ainge would sign a player; former Celtic Keyon Dooling, who's working for the team in community relations, has been mentioned as a possibility. The Celtics, who were already languishing below .500, could also trade one of their stars and begin rebuilding.

``Danny has not brought up anything,'' Rivers said.

Rivers said he won't worry about Pierce being asked to do too much.

``I don't think Miami worries about running too much through LeBron (James),'' he said. ``I don't think the Lakers worry about running too much through Kobe (Bryant).''

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

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5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

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Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.

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**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.

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**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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