Rivers gives Rondo more play-calling duties

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Rivers gives Rondo more play-calling duties

BOSTON As a former NBA point guard, Doc Rivers is used to calling the shots. So it's understandable if most of the sets you see the Boston Celtics run are calls made by him.

But Rajon Rondo challenges Rivers' approach more than any other point guard he's ever dealt with. The result is Rivers giving Rondo the kind of play-calling freedom that you don't see a lot of in today's NBA point guards have.

"Rondo's the only one, in the years that I've coached," Rivers said. "And the reason you give it to him is because he's the smartest one."

Rondo has certainly been on a roll of late with his play-calling, which has been a big reason why the Celtics have won four in a row, including a 115-111 overtime win against New York on Sunday.

The 6-foot-1 point guard tallied his fourth triple-double of the season, and second in three days, with 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists.

His numbers speak for themselves, but what's even more impressive is how he's putting them up while still getting his teammates involved.

Rivers said having Rondo call more of his own plays is a natural progression for his role with the team now.

"There's no guy on the floor that knows what should be run better than the point guard," Rivers said. "And if he has a feel for your team, then I'd rather have him make the call."

There are times still when Rondo will look to Rivers to make a call, but Rivers said,"it's sensational when he doesn't look."

Rondo says he has been calling his own plays for a couple of years, but it appears as though Rivers is giving him even more freedom to do so now.

"That's an honor," Rondo said. "You know I think I've had to earn his respect and knowing my knowledge of the game, we've sat down a couple times and just picked each other's brain."

Rivers added, "It's his team. I tell him that all the time, 'It's your team.' We're all in this together, but it's great when he takes over like that."

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

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McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.