Friday FT's: Rondo to Philipines; Melo takes down folding chair

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Friday FT's: Rondo to Philipines; Melo takes down folding chair

Welcome to the return of Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information about the Boston Celtics that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read.

Before the Celtics head to Italy and Turkey for training camp, Rajon Rondo is traveling to the Philippines. The trip is for a Red Bull campaign wherein three fans will have the opportunity to meet the point guard next week.

From the Red Bull Philippines Twitter:

Whats up MANILA?! Who's ready to meet Red Bull Athlete RAJON RONDO?! We're looking for Rondo's three biggest fans to join us for an exclusive meet & greet with Mr TripleDouble himself on TUESDAY 28TH AUGUST!!!! Get yourself a can of Blue&Silver;and show us how much you love Red Bull Product of Europe. Three most epic photos will be chosen as our winners! Entries close 6pm Sunday 26th August.. redbullgivesyouwings!!!!

To enter, tweet photos to @RedBullPh.

Epic Showdown: Fab Melo vs. the Folding Chair

Fab Melo was voted the funniest rookie in a survey of his first year counterparts. Maybe its because he has such a good sense of humor when he does things like break a folding chair. Check out this video of the 7-0, 255-pound center drawing a laugh and taking it all in stride during the Rookie Transition Program. I think the chair was too weak and an accident happened, he told NBA TV with a chuckle.

ONeal a New Man with a New Team

As Boston Celtics fans anxiously awaited the signing of Jeff Green, former Celtic Jermaine ONeal quietly inked a deal with the Phoenix Suns this month. ONeal, who appeared in 49 games for the Celtics over two seasons, was waived in April after undergoing season-ending wrist surgery. He also traveled to Germany this summer for Regenokine treatment on both knees. ONeal, 33, credited the Celtics medical team for his wrist surgery and is looking to enter his 17th NBA season in better shape than he has been in years, according to the Arizona Republic.

Paul Coro reported:

O'Neal said Regenokine, which centrifuges a patient's blood to make an anti-inflammatory serum for the knee, has allowed him to do lower-body training that he had not done for about five years. He also said he trimmed his body with a 14-day detox and a strict diet.
"I have a different type of lift right now," said O'Neal, who had new Suns teammate Jared Dudley attest to that after a shared Las Vegas workout. "I have a different type of quickness right now. A lot of people may say it's the procedure, but I say it's the work I put in."

ONeal averaged 5.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in 25 games for the Celtics last season.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

Been waiting to say this for a while... iamaceltic jeff (@unclejeffgreen) August 23, 2012

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Roy Rogers Jr., who played nine games for the Celtics during the 1997-98 season, turned 39 on August 19. He is the only player to wear the number 99 for the C's and only the fourth player in the NBA to do so. Quinn Buckner turned 58 on August 20. He played three seasons in Boston and was part of the 1984 championship team. The late Si Green (1965-66 Celtics) was also born on August 20 in 1933. The late Harold Kottman, who played all 53 games of his NBA career with the Celtics during the 1946-47 season, was born on August 22, 1922. Tony Dawson appeared in two games for the Celtics in the 1994-95 season. He will turn 44 on August 25.

This Week in Celtics History

On August 19, 2005, the Celtics signed free agent guard Will Bynum. He was waived months later on October 25. The Celtics inked Chris Carr as a free agent on August 21, 2000. He played his final NBA season as a member of the C's. On the same date in 2001, the Celtics traded Eric Williams to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a 1999 and 2001 second round pick. On August 22, 2008, the C's signed free agent Darius Miles. The former third overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft was waived on October 20, 2008. 11 years earlier, the Chris Mills and Tyus Edney signed as free agents on August 22, 1997. The Celtics traded Mills to the New York Knicks in a prior to the start of the season while Edney appeared in 52 games.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

BOSTON – Saturday was yet another night when the opposing team – this time it was the Portland Trail Blazers – that up the Boston Celtics with an avalanche of points that ended in a 127-123 overtime loss.

And yet through the rubble of all those lay-ups and put-back baskets and mid-range jumpers, Stevens saw something he has not seen in a while – hope that better days defensively were coming sooner rather than later.

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“As crazy as it sounds with them scoring (127) … I actually thought we were a lot closer to defending the way we want to defend," said Stevens. "I thought we were really locked into those guards, and I thought we tried to make it as tough as possible. Those guys are really good players, obviously, but I thought, I thought we did a lot of good things in that regard.”

For the most part, Boston and Portland played a relatively even game that wasn’t decided until the final minute of overtime.

“They just made more plays down the stretch,” said Boston’s Al Horford.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

He tends to get second billing to Damian Lillard, but he was a first rate problem for the Celtics. He led the Blazers with 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

Damian Lillard

After a foul-troubled first half, Lillard stepped up like the All-Star he is in the second half to finish with 28 points and seven assists which included seven of Portland’s 14 points in overtime.

Isaiah Thomas

It was another dynamic scoring night for Thomas, finishing with a game-high 41 points which included 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime.


STUDS

Terry Rozier

Making the most of his chance to play due to injuries and illnesses, Rozier came up with a number of big shots all night. He finished with 15 points which included a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds in the fourth that forced overtime.

Mason Plumlee

In addition to doing a solid job protecting the rim, Plumlee also tallied a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out a game-high eight assists.

Meyers Leonard

Easily the big X-factor of the game, Leonard had 17 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting.

 

DUDS

Celtics Turnovers

This is the one area where the Celtics have been really good all season. Saturday? Not so much. Boston turned the ball over a season-high 21 times which accounted for 34 points for the Blazers.