Just another triple-double for Rondo

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Just another triple-double for Rondo

ATLANTA Only in the world of Rajon Rondo can getting a triple-double be seen as a matter-of-fact kind of thing.

Lost in the afterglow of Boston's 89-81 come-from-behind win over Atlanta on Saturday was the fact that Rondo tallied his 25th career triple-double (second this season) with 14 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds.

"My shots weren't falling early and I was just trying to do the intangibles," Rondo said. "Get some rebounds, get myself going and continue to make plays for my teammates. And also just try to stay aggressive and ended up with a triple-double."

While attention certainly has to be paid to what Rondo accomplished statistically, just as important was the pace at which the Celtics have played the last two games.

It's no coincidence that Rondo's recent play comes about just as the C's have gone back to the lineup they had used a year ago this time that catapulted them to the Eastern Conference finals.

With a healthy Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass back in their familiar roles as starters, there has been a positive ripple effect throughout the roster.

One of the main reasons why most of the Celtics' veteran core remained positive and optimistic about the team's chances of turning things around, was because they saw first-hand how good they could be when they have all their core pieces in positions that they're suited to be in.

Boston wasn't going to get there until Bradley came back. And even then it would take some time before he would develop some form of consistency with his play. He's not there just yet, but he's far enough along to where his teammates -- and Rondo especially -- benefit from his presence.

Rondo doesn't have to defend the opposing team's best backcourt scorer which frees him up to exert more energy executing the C's offense.

"Rondo means so much to not just me, but this entire team," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "He helps us in so many areas; scoring, rebounding, defending, obviously assists. He's just a great player and a great teammate."

So great that what's considered by many as the definition of a good all-around game -- a triple-double -- is seemingly just another day on the job for this three-time All-Star.

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

BOSTON -- Compared to most high draft picks, Jaylen Brown doesn’t log a ton of minutes for the Boston Celtics.
 
Playing on an experienced team with legit hopes of making a deep playoff run, rookies seeing limited minutes is a given.
 
Knowing playing time will come in a limited supply, Brown understands all too well the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets on the floor.
 
He did just that on Saturday in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia, and he hopes to do more of the same on Monday when the Celtics take on the Houston Rockets.
 
When you look at Brown’s stat line, nothing about it looks impressive. He played 15 minutes, scored two points with one rebound and one blocked shot.
 
But beyond the stats was the fact that he was on the floor for seven minutes in the fourth quarter in a close back-and-forth game on the road. Rookies on the floor in crunch time is not the norm in the NBA.
 
“It means a lot,” Brown told reporters after Saturday’s win. “I try to be as best I can be for my team; try to put my best foot forward every night out.”
 
And he did just that on Saturday.
 
In the fourth quarter with the Celtics leading 87-83, Brown blocked a Gerald Henderson shot that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 90-83.
 
And just two minutes prior to the blocked shot, he was out in transition following an Isaiah Thomas steal and threw down a dunk that pushed Boston’s lead to 86-83 with 7:11 to play.
 
Brown acknowledged making the most of those opportunities bodes well for him and the franchise.
 
“It’s great for our team in general; not just for me,” Brown said. “Those plays helped us to pull the game out in the end. So I’m glad we got the win. I think we should have played a little better than we did.”
 
The continued pursuit of self-improvement is a hallmark of what Brown’s focus and desire are at this stage of his pro career. He has talked often about not wanting to be just one of the best in this draft class but also one of the best in the NBA overall.
 
But he’s also learned that to get there takes time and experience developing both physically and mentally. Part of that mental growth entails having the right approach to games.
 
“Usually you try to tell yourself not to mess up,” Brown said. “Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s just play basketball, bring energy, things like that; come out and do what you’re supposed to do. A lot of times you try to tell yourself to not mess up and it’s counteractive; just come out and play basketball and have fun.”
 
And by doing so the minutes will come.
 
“You can’t control that. I just have to control what I can control,” Brown said. “I trust coach (Brad Stevens); I trust my coaching staff. I have to come out and in the minutes I get, play my hand as best I can and take advantage of what I do get and impact this team as much as possible.”
 
This season, Brown is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Scott Zolak said on Pregame Live Sunday that the Patriots are better-suited to survive a season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski than they were a season ago. 

Zolak said that given the health of Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the signing of Chris Hogan, the offense has more stability at other positions to make up for the loss of Gronkowski, whose season is over due to back surgery. As for the tight end position, Zolak said he feels the Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett to protect themselves against scenarios like the one they currently face. 

“This offseason they [acquired] Martellus Bennett, I think for this very reason: to prepare for what really happens year after year, is some sort of issue comes up with Rob Gronkowski and you have to play without him,” Zolak said.

Bennett was questionable with an ankle injury for this week’s game, but is expected to play. Asked about the health of Bennett, Zolak said that he believes the tight end is good to play, but that his importance to the team with Gronkowski out means the Pats will need to be careful. 

“I think he’s healthy enough to get through about 30-35 snaps,” Zolak said. “They’ve got to balance him now moving forward.”