Doc: Rondo's resiliency makes Celtics a better team

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Doc: Rondo's resiliency makes Celtics a better team

BOSTON Rajon Rondo was having one of those nights in Game 5.
He struggled shooting the ball, his teammates weren't finishing off plays and the Boston Celtics spent more time than they would have liked playing from behind.
A younger Rondo might have allowed those circumstances to engulf him to the point where he would make a rough night even worse.
But the Rondo of today, while he still has his moments, is more about focus than frustration when times get tough.
Having that ability has enabled both him and the Celtics to thrive to where they are now just one victory away from a trip to the NBA Finals.
"Rondo's biggest opponent a lot of times is Rondo," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "He's so hard on himself. He wants to be great every play, every possession."
And that desire for perfection, like most character traits, can be both a strength and weakness.
"Early in his career it still happens now he has a couple of bad moments he gets down on himself," Rivers said. "Then he'll have a bad six or seven or eight minutes, even sometimes a game."
But if there was an example of the growth that Rivers speaks of, it was evident in Boston's 94-90 Game 5 win.
The Celtics found themselves down by double digits in the first quarter, and Rondo's struggles had a lot to do with that. He took five shots, all misses.
And the NBA's assists leader this season only had just one assist and two turnovers in the first, all factoring into the Celtics' 24-16 first quarter deficit.
"My teammates told me to keep attacking," said Rondo, who had seven points, 13 assists and six rebounds. "I made some mistakes I usually don't make. I missed a lot of shots I usually make. But that's irrelevant. We stuck with it and my teammates believed in me."
That faith was rewarded with a three-assist, two-steal effort in the second quarter and a near flawless third in which Rondo had five assists without a single turnover as the Celtics finally played with a lead.
And of course down the stretch, Rondo's ability to give a little bit of everything to the game -- scoring, rebounding and of course, assists -- was among the keys to Boston pulling out a tough road win which has set the stage for tonight's close-out game.
"His growth has been he's been able to pull out of it (struggles) quicker and quicker, which obviously allows us to be a better team," Rivers said. "You think about threequarters, Rondo was okay. The fourth quarter he made play after play for us. And that's a great example of being resilient mentally."
Said Rondo: "It's just the will. I think I just try to find a way to get us the will to win."

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

The Boston Celtics are used to this playing without a key starter thing, so tonight’s game at Orlando won’t be all that different than most of their games this season.
 
Isaiah Thomas will not play tonight against the Magic due to a right groin injury he suffered in Monday’s 107-106 loss at Houston.
 
Thomas flew back to Boston Tuesday night.
 
Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters he is leaning towards having Marcus Smart, who filled in earlier for an injured Jae Crowder, start in place of Thomas.
 
The injury occurred in the second quarter of the Rockets game, but Thomas continued to play on as he knocked down a 3-point shot just moments after he first began grimacing while holding the groin.
 
Following the loss, Thomas acknowledged the injury did bother him for the rest of the game as he finished with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting.
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” Thomas told reporters. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who was named to his first all-star team last season, has been even more dynamic offensively this year.
 
He leads the Celtics with a career-high 26 points per game and has been ranked among the NBA’s top 10 scorers most of this season.
 
It is too soon to tell if the injury will sideline him for one game, or whether he’ll be out for an extended period of time.

 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Magic

WATCH: Celtics vs. Magic

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