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.

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

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Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

WALTHAM, Mass. – When the news came out that Al Horford was going to be a Boston Celtic, Amir Johnson couldn’t wait to meet his new teammate.

He didn’t have to.

Johnson soon found himself on plane headed to Atlanta to not only work out with Horford, but also try and work out some of the kinks that tend to come up among new teammates in those early days of training camp.

“I took it upon myself when I saw Al was part of the team, I automatically wanted to go down to Atlanta and work,” said Johnson who added that he brought his daughter along for the trip and they went to dinner with Horford’s family during the visit. “I thought it was great just to get that chemistry going. I just wanted to get to known him, make him feel comfortable.”

It’s still early in training camp, but Johnson and Horford seem to be meshing quite well on the floor. 

“The chemistry’s definitely coming along,” Johnson said. “I know when Al wants to roll or pop, and just working my way around it. Al’s more of a popper and eventually he’ll roll. It’s up to me to read whether I stay up or work the baseline.”

Johnson has been in the NBA long enough to know that often the keys to success are subtle nuances that may be overlooked by fans and spectators, but players know are essential to them being successful.

Being able to not only understand a player’s game but figure out how to play well with them, are critical to teammates being successful.

Last season, Johnson was Boston’s primary rim-protecting big man which is a role the 29-year-old Johnson has been cast in the last few years he was in Toronto. Horford brings a similar set of defensive skills to the table which gives Boston a true 1-2 defensive punch along the frontline.

“It’s big time,” Johnson said. “We communicate to each other. It’s all about communication out there; just knowing he can hold it down and he trusts me to hold it down. It’s key.”

GREEN INJURY UPDATE

Gerald Green is expected to get a few more days to rest his hip flexor injury which he said on Thursday was feeling better.

The injury should keep the 6-6 wing from participating in the team’s Green-White scrimmage on Friday, but it isn’t considered serious.

Still, Green is eager to get back and return to full contact work which is why he is getting a steady diet of treatments during the day and returning in the evening for more treatments from the Celtics’ medical staff.

“It’s almost like a precautionary thing; make sure it doesn’t get worst,” Green said.

The injury occurred earlier this week but Green could not pinpoint exactly what he did to suffer the injury.

“I don’t think I stretched properly,” Green said. “I’m not 25 no more. Just try to come out there and go at full speed. Those are things I’ve got to learn now I’m in my 30s.”
Indeed, one of the many benefits of being older now is that Green sees the big picture of things better now, which is why he isn’t trying to rush back to the floor too quickly.

As a veteran, it’s a long season,” Green said. “You’re not trying to do too much to make it worst. Training camp is important, but being healthy at the beginning of the season is even more important.”

RUN, YOUNGSTERS, RUN

Near the end of Thursday’s practice, the Celtics had a full court game of 3-on-3 involving some of the team’s rookies and end-of-the-bench training camp invitees like Jalen Jones of Texas A&M. The 6-7 undrafted rookie had a dunk over Jordan Mickey, a 3-pointer and another strong, uncontested flush at the rim in a matter of minutes. He’s likely to wind up with Boston’s Developmental League team, the Maine Red Claws.

With Thursday morning’s session being the team’s fifth practice this season, head coach Brad Stevens thought it was a good idea to get some of the team’s younger players on the court.

“It was good to play some 3-on-3,” said Stevens who added that it was good for their conditioning since a lot of the running at this point involves trying to get the starters and the likely rotation players as acclimated and familiar with one another as possible. “We try to do that occasionally even through the season just to get everybody up and down.”

TURNOVERS? WHAT TURNOVERS?

Five practices in the books and there’s only one thing that really has stood out to the eyes of Isaiah Thomas.

It’s turnovers.

Apparently the Celtics haven’t committed too many thus far.

“We haven’t turned the ball over as much as teams usually do the first couple of days,” Thomas said. “We’re trying to learn the system, trying to get everybody familiar with what we do. But we’ve been playing well together. Guys are playing hard. Guys have gotten better, worked on their game.”

Ball-handling will be one of the areas to watch during the preseason as the Celtics look to find a replacement for Evan Turner (Portland) who has been one of the team’s best ball-handlers the past couple of seasons.

The Celtics were middle-of-the-pack last season with 13.5 turnovers per game which ranked 14th in the NBA.

Low turnovers often serve as a common trait among playoff teams. Just last season, eight of the top-nine teams in fewest turnovers committed, were in the playoffs.