Rondo again takes blame for Celtics loss

Rondo again takes blame for Celtics loss
March 16, 2014, 11:45 pm
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Rajon Rondo understands his role as the Boston Celtics’ leader is to deliver when it matters most.

But tor the second straight game, the Celts came up short in the closing seconds of a game that was indeed anyone’s for the taking. And while the responsibility should be spread liberally across the roster as well as the coaching staff, Rondo once again put much of the blame for Sunday’s 121-120 overtime loss to New Orleans on his shoulders.

“We keep coming up short,” Rondo told reporters following Sunday’s loss, which extended their road losing streak against Western Conference teams to 19. “I have to do a better job of finishing plays. I pretty much blame this on myself again.”

Rondo tallied 14 assists with just two turnovers on Sunday, but he scored only six points on 3-for-14 shooting.

Missing shots wasn’t the issue; it was the kind of shots that bothered Rondo more than anything else.

They were the kind of shots around the basket that the pre-injury Rondo would knock down with a high degree of consistency.

Now?

Not so much.

“My floaters aren’t there,” Rondo said. “My touches around the rim aren’t there. But I’ll keep shooting them. I’ll continue to be aggressive.”

When Rondo returned on Jan. 17 after suffering a torn ACL injury a year prior to that, him getting off to a slow start was a given. Not only was he trying to shake off nearly a year’s worth of rust, but he was also playing limited minutes.

In January, he averaged 6.7 points, 5.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds while shooting a woeful 27.9 percent from the field in 24.3 minutes per game.

Rondo’s minutes increased in February, as did his production. The four time All-Star averaged 15.3 points, 9.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in February while playing 33.1 minutes per game. Just as significant was him shooting 48.5 percent from the field.

Rondo’s minutes continue to rise, currently at 36.5 per game in March. But the rest of his numbers have taken a noticeable dive: 12.2 points, 9.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting 34.1 percent from the field this month.

And unlike the first two months of his return, Rondo is consistently getting to the spots he wants to on the floor.

One theory is that he has yet to regain the explosiveness off the dribble that allowed him to finish around the rim.

“I don’t know,” Rondo said when asked about possibly not having his usual explosiveness back just yet. “I don’t try to make an excuse. I wasn’t always explosive when I was playing (before the injury). I still had a lot of trick shots around the rim. It’s just my touch. I have to continue to work on my touch and my timing.”