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How Rajon Rondo's thumb injury could affect the Eastern Conference playoffs

How Rajon Rondo's thumb injury could affect the Eastern Conference playoffs

If you looked at things on Thursday night, you would've said the Chicago Bulls were in terrific shape. The Eastern Conference's eighth seed held a 2-0 advantage over the top-seeded Boston Celtics in their first-round series, a lead made stronger by the fact that Games 3 and 4 would be played in Chicago.

But then Friday morning happened.

That's when the team announced that point guard Rajon Rondo would be out indefinitely with a thumb injury. Rondo fractured the finger against the Celtics in Game 2, and coach Fred Hoiberg said his status will be re-evaluated in a week or so

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The 31-year-old was inconsistent in the regular season and at times not a threat at all, but he had put together two nice statlines against his old team so far in these playoffs. Now, though, it looks like he will miss at least the next few contests, barring a dramatic change in his health or him finding a way to fight through the fracture.

The news doesn't just affect the Bulls, however. It matters to the Wizards, too.

If Washington is able to win twice more against the Hawks, then they'll be slated to play the winner of the Chicago-Boston series. Even though the Celtics seem to be mired in a sizable slump, the Wizards would still likely prefer to square off with the Bulls, seeing as they went 3-1 versus Hoiberg's squad (all three wins were by more than 15 points).

But, due to Rondo's absence, things are about to get a lot more interesting between the Bulls and the Celtics. Despite Chicago's 2-0 start and their possession of homecourt, Boston will be feeling a lot better about themselves facing their now Rondo-less opponents.

That, in turn, will have the Wizards feeling somewhat worse about their chances of landing a favorable second-round matchup.

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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