Celtics speeding things up without Rondo


Celtics speeding things up without Rondo

WALTHAM -- To put it simply, the Celtics have been rather boring on offense for the past few years.

They play the half-court game. They slow it down. They run sets and run the shot clock down. Occasionally they'll speed things up. Occasionally.

This is what they're instructed to do. This is what they're constructed to do. Rajon Rondo runs the point, and in turn runs the show.

It has been a give-the-ball-to-Rondo-and-wait style of basketball for significant portions of many games.

That, obviously, isn't the case anymore this season, and without a real point guard on the team as of now, it won't be the case.

The C's are pushing the tempo and picking up the pace off of rebounds. The goal is to get out on the break and act fast. You wouldn't exactly know it by looking at yesterday's box score though -- 14 fast break points. That's because, according to Doc Rivers, the way it's scored is a poor representation of how often it happens.

"The way they do fast break points is the silliest thing . . . So if you ever go by that number- that's why whenever you guys say after a game, 'such and such had . . .' I know in my mind it's way off, so I never even pay much attention to that number. We had a lot of early offense, and that's what you want. And early offense is a fast break."

The "official" way fast break points are scored is if a basket is made within six seconds of a defensive rebound.

What Rivers' "early offense" means is finding the outlet almost immediately upon a rebound, or turnover and creating a numbers advantage on the break -- whether that means it turns into a layup, foul shots, or is kicked out for a transition three-pointer.

"Fast break to me, is if you can create numbers," Rivers said. "It can be 12 seconds, but because you pushed the ball up the floor, have created a five-on-four, then you've created a fast break point."

Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee were two guards who created those opportunities on a number of occasions Wednesday night.

"One of the things me and Courtney (Lee) told each other before the game, 'Just get it and go!' " Bradley said after the win over Sacramento. "That's what we were doing."

There were plenty of times that a rebound would go straight to Rondo, who would take much time off the shot clock as he would dribble and call out sets. You'd see it far too often: guys like Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, or Jeff Green standing outside the three-point line waiting to see what Rondo would do. What that also did, though, was let the defense set.

Now with a multitude of players able to handle and push the ball up the floor, players are becoming more alert and active on the offensive end.

"We didn't recreate the wheel in one or two days," Rivers said. "We're running the exact same stuff, it's just that there's no one guy starting it. That would be the difference. There's no one guy pushing the ball on the break. And everybody has to be alert, because the ball could be coming your way in transition. And when that happens, I think everybody starts running because they think they may be the guy."

It may seem like the Kings didn't do a great job at pressuring the ball handler and preventing the C's from bringing the ball up the court faster. But that in part has to do with the Celtics not allowing them to.

"The Kings missed a lot of shots early, or in the second quarter, and it's tough to put pressure -- and that's the point I'm making to our guys -- if you throw the ball ahead," Rivers said. "The guy that wants to pressure is already behind the ball. We advance the pass so you can't pressure that. That was a big, to a guard at half court, to another guard. If you don't dribble, it's tough to pressure, and I thought that's what we did a nice job of. It was one pass to another pass to getting in your offense."

And as long as the C's are getting stops on the defensive end, they'll do their best to turn it into offense as fast as they can.

Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter


Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter

Minutes before they opened their regular season Thursday against the Celtics, the Bulls announced the signing of shooting guard R.J. Hunter.

Click here to view the compete story on CSNChicago.com

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Chippy first half between Celtics-Bulls


Halftime stars, studs and duds: Chippy first half between Celtics-Bulls

Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder are former teammates at Marquette. Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo have tremendous respect for one another as competitors.

But in the heat of battle, friendships and respect can at times fall by the wayside which is exactly what happened in the first half between these two Eastern Conference foes.

After a chippy first half, the Bulls went into the half ahead 57-49.

The last couple of minutes in the second quarter were much closer than the halftime score would indicate.

Butler drained a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer sounded that nearly doubled Chicago’s halftime lead.

His shot brought a conclusion to a first half which included four technical being called on one play in which Crowder was whistled for an offensive foul.

On that play, Butler seemed to tie up Crowder’s legs with both players on the floor. Crowder then seemed to forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest. That led to some back-and-forth smack talk between Thomas and Rondo.

All four players were whistled for technical fouls.

Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points.

As the Celtics soon discovered, finding open spots on the floor against the Bulls was much, much tougher than it was 24 hours earlier against the Nets.

Chicago continued to play with control and led by double digits throughout the second quarter.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s Boston-Chicago game.



Dwyane Wade

The prodigal son looked good in his first game playing in front of lots of family and friends. He led all scorers with 14 points which included 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Avery Bradley

The Celtics seemed to have found their stride in the second quarter with Bradley leading the charge. He led all Boston players with 12 points at the half.

Jimmy Butler

The face of the Bulls franchise got off to a slow start, but soon picked up his play at both ends of the floor in the second quarter. He had 11 points at the half along with grabbing five rebounds.



Taj Gibson

He was a problem for the Boston Celtics right from the start, providing the kind of low-post scoring the Bulls will be looking for in the second half. At the half, Gibson had eight points and six rebounds.

Rajon Rondo

The former Boston Celtic was doing what he has done well for most of his career – getting others involved. At the half Rondo had three points and a game-high six assists with four rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

Boston needed him to be more of a scorer than a facilitator on Thursday, and Thomas was more than willing to oblige. He had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting.



Celtics 3-point defense

The Bulls got one good look after another from 3-point range, with the Celtics showing few signs of making the necessary adjustments. The Bulls connected on 53.8 percent of their 3-pointers (7-for-13) in the first half.