Rondo: We're not playing defense

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Rondo: We're not playing defense

BOSTON -- As the opponents' points on the scoreboard continue to rise, the Boston Celtics are looking less and less like the defensive-minded team they have been over the past years.

The change is not lost on seventh-year Celtic Rajon Rondo.

"We're not playing it (defense)," the point guard said following the Celtics loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. "I don't know (why). We've just got to try to take it one step at a time. It starts with me so I've just got to hold myself more accountable."

Rondo has been through the struggles of an 18-game losing streak and the triumphs of the 2008 NBA championship. He is one of only three players left from the title-winning squad, and he remembers the teams that rallied around one another and left no question they were bought into the Celtics foundation.

"Just our trust, our trust isn't there," he said. "When we do make a mistake, we don't make up for one another. In the past, a guy may be off the dribble or a guy might have an open shot, a guy might run from no matter where and cover up and contest the shot. Right now, we're just standing watching our guys take open looks."

The Celtics (14-17) are being outscored by their competition, 97.9 points to 95.5, this season. They allowed over 100 points in their previous three losses, a drastic change from the team that would hold their opponents to under 90 points with ease (or at least they made it look that way). Now, they are struggling on both ends.

"Teams are making us pay," said Rondo. "When we we play good defense, and they have great ball movement, swing the ball on our guy, get a wide open three and makes it, it messes your confidence up defensively. But you've still got to go back and defend on every other possession."

As for Rondo himself, head coach Doc Rivers would like him to focus on his offensive game amid the team's defensive struggles. Rondo suffered a bruised right thigh and hip and missed one game during the Celtics west coast trip. He played 40 minutes against the Grizzlies, recording a double-double with 11 points (4-11 FG, 0-4 3PG) and 10 assists.

"I thought Rondo, as far as health-wise, I thought he was fine," said Rivers. "With the way were not scoring, and you could see Kevin (Garnett) struggle today with his shot, we really need him to be more aggressive in our pick-and-roll package, in our offense. It was funny, the beginning of the game he did that. At the very beginning, he called quick pick-and-rolls, we were attacking, then he got away from it. Thats not second-nature to him, to be an aggressive scorer, but we really need him to be that. We need him to get in the open court, attack the basket, look for baskets in transition instead of guys shooting threes that arent going in. And thats something weve just got to keep pushing.

Said Rondo, "I'm out there playing. Everybody's fair game. I don't really blame anything on my injury."

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

It’s not the craziest thing someone has said on Twitter, but Evan Turner tweeted Monday that the Celtics should retire his number. 

It was a joke, of course, as the former Celtic was reacting to news that Isaiah Thomas had said he liked the No. 11 and would change his jersey number if so many people in Boston hadn’t already purchased his No. 4 jersey. 

After Turner joked that No. 11 was going to be retired, Thomas joked back that he would wear No. 11 as a tribute to the current Trail Blazer. 

Prior to being traded to Boston, Thomas wore No. 22 for Sacramento and No. 3 for Phoenix. 

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability.