Rondo returns, hopes to put Celtics on right track

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Rondo returns, hopes to put Celtics on right track

WALTHAM The veterans were back on the floor for the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers was running practice and Rajon Rondo - back from a two-game suspension - was running the show.

His return always bodes well for the Celtics who are looking to get on a roll after a lackluster start to the season that has them at 9-8 with the Minnesota Timberwolves in town on Wednesday.

Doc Rivers doesn't for a minute take for granted the impact of having his three-time all-star back in the fold.

"Rondo's is important," Rivers said. "But Kevin (Garnett) is important, Paul (Pierce) ... we should have won both games without Rondo. Having said that, we need him. It's a team game, guys. The day that one guy is going to change a team, make them win every game, that's not going to happen."

Maybe not, but having Rondo certainly gives the Celtics as good a chance as they'll have in reaching their max potential.

While away from the game, Rondo had a chance to watch the C's battle on without him, and came away impressed.

"They moved the ball really well without me," said Rondo, the league's leader in assists with 12.9 per game.

Indeed, his absence afforded other players an opportunity to play more extended minutes and just as important, contribute in ways that might prove beneficial to the Celtics later this season.

"That'll help anybody out," said C's Courtney Lee, referring to extended minutes in Rondo's absence. "You can play through your mistakes, you can play (more) aggressively."

But Rondo's back, and his mindset now is to get the Celtics back to winning.

"I want to get better," he said. "I want to run off by eight or nine games straight. I just want to go out there and give it my all for my teammates, and get some wins."

Said Jeff Green: "When he's there, he's our captain, he's our leader. He knows where everybody is supposed to be on the floor. It's a lot easier when he is here."

Paul Pierce echoed similar comments about Rondo.

"A lot of things we do revolve around Rondo," Pierce said. "Our tempo, our offensive sets ... he's vital to this offense."

But as important as it is for Rondo to be back, Rivers understands that the C's success has to involve others as well.

"It's a team game, guys," Rivers said. "The day that one guy is going to change a team, make them win every game, that's not going to happen."

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Michael Strahan saw the Patriots lose a Super Bowl first-hand, but he doesn’t think they’ll lose Super Bowl LI. That’s because he doesn’t think they’ll be participants. 

Appearing on The Tonight Show, the former Giants defensive end and current Person Who is Frequently on Television said that he expects the Steelers to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.

“I think in the AFC, I think Pittsburgh might pull the upset this year,” Strahan said. 

When Jimmy Fallon objected, Strahan said Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ pass rush would be enough to beat the Pats if New England plays the way it did in the divisional round. 
 
“If you watched the Houston Texans, they had a shot; they just turned the ball over,” he said. “And the Houston Texans offense is in no way, shape or form near what Pittsburgh has. They don’t have the quarterback that [Pittsburgh has]. Defensively, Houston had the really good defense, but Pittsburgh [puts] the good pressure on the quarterback. And from my Super Bowl experience, Tom Brady does not like pressure. I’m just saying I feel like if there’s anybody who’s going to pull an upset, it will be them.” 

As for any rooting interest, Strahan said that he hopes the Falcons win the Super Bowl, citing Matt Ryan being overdue for a title and Julio Jones having a Brady-like quality of putting team goals before his own legacy.