Rondo, Pierce help Celtics rally past Hawks


Rondo, Pierce help Celtics rally past Hawks

ATLANTA (AP) After listening to Doc Rivers lecture the Boston Celtics at halftime, Paul Pierce told his teammates to respect their coach and follow orders.

``We were kind of bickering at each other a little bit too much, figuring out what defense we were going to run,'' Pierce said. ``And I just had to say that the fight ain't with one another. It's against the other team on the court.''

The Celtics responded in the second half, with Rajon Rondo finishing off a triple double as Boston rallied for an 89-81 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Pierce scored 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter as the Celtics erased a 19-point deficit and went on to consecutive wins for the first time since late November against Oklahoma City and Orlando. Rondo had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Boston, which beat Indiana 94-75 on Friday night, had lost four straight road games.

Rivers insisted that despite the first-half struggles against the Hawks, the game plan would not change.

``I was like, `This ain't it, don't get mad at Doc, he's coaching,''' Pierce said. ``We've got to get mad at this other team.''

Lou Williams scored 21 of his 28 points in the first half for Atlanta, which has lost two straight. Jeff Teague added 17 points, and Josh Smith, who was 2 for 12 in the second half, finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hawks got off to a fast start, then fell apart in the third quarter as Boston began doubling ballhandlers on the perimeter and clamping down on Atlanta inside.

``They just climbed up in us defensively,'' Teague said. ``They got physical and they brought pressure and got us out of our comfort zone. We just didn't respond.''

The Celtics trailed by 19 with 6:20 left in the second, but went up 61-60 on Jared Sullinger's alley-oop layup with 3:47 left in the third. It was their first lead since the game's first minute.

Boston opened the third with a 14-1 run to pull within one. Hawks coach Larry Drew, whose team missed its first five shots from the field to begin the second half, called timeout at the 7:29 mark, but Teague lost the ball out of the bounds on the ensuing possession.

Atlanta, which had 13 turnovers and three assists in the second half, was just 2 for 14 from the field in the third and trailed 71-62 heading to the final period.

Kevin Garnett's fast-break layup with 8:53 remaining gave the Celtics their first double-digit lead at 79-68. Garnett finished with 14 points.

``The second half was completely different,'' Rivers said. ``We worked the set. The first play went from one side to the other on offense. On defense they were late in the shot clock because Avery (Bradley) and Rondo both were up ball pressuring. And it changed the game for us.''

Williams had outscored the Celtics 13-10 by the 5:47 mark of the first, connecting on his first seven shots from the field. His 16th point came on a layup for Atlanta's first double-digit lead at 23-12 late in the first.

But the Hawks could not overcome the absence of injured shooting guards Devin Harris and Anthony Morrow. Kyle Korver then fouled out with 6:37 remaining, and DeShawn Stevenson played only 13 minutes because of sore knees.

Drew called it ``probably the most disappointing loss of the season'' considering the Hawks have gone soft with big leads all season and backed down from the team that eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs last season.

``We've seen this kind of scenario before where we've played well and then when it starts to get more physical, we don't respond,'' Drew said. ``That was clearly what happened tonight.''

Jason Terry, in his first season with Boston and 13th overall, credited Pierce with backing up Rivers and straightening out the team's collective attitude.

``We took the challenge,'' Terry said. ``We took it personal. You come in at halftime, and Lou Williams has 21 points, primarily all easy baskets. He was just letting them fly. So we wanted to invade his space. As we did that, we started to get more and more stops.

``Paul Pierce got it rolling. He really made his imprint on the game.''

NOTES: Korver fouled out for the first time in 27 games this season and finished with nine points. ... Atlanta scored 31 points in the first quarter, tying for the highest by a Boston opponent and the most since the Celtics opened the season Oct. 30 at Miami. ... The Hawks' nine points in the third were a season low by a Boston opponent. ... Harris missed his ninth straight game with a sore left foot. ... Morrow was sidelined for the fifth straight game because of a strained right hip.

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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