Rondo can't get self, Celtics going in Game 6

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Rondo can't get self, Celtics going in Game 6

PHILADELPHIA No matter how Rajon Rondo tried, he just could not find a hot hand (a luke warm one would have sufficed) to get the ball to for the Boston Celtics.

So when he tried to score on his own - and failed to do so repeatedly - it became clear that he too was in no flow or rhythm offensively.

And there lies the push-and-pull that Rondo - on most nights at least - seems to master.

But Game 6 wasn't Rondo's night - or the Celtics' night for that matter - as the C's drop a 82-75 Game 6 loss.

With Philadelphia's win, the Celtics and the Sixers will face off at the TD Garden on Saturday with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

And Rondo's final line on Wednesday - nine points, six assists and nine rebounds - was the kind you expect to see from in at the half.

"I don't know" was C's coach Doc Rivers' response when asked about Rondo's very un-Rondo-like game.

"He wanted to play well," Rivers added. "He attacked early and missed some shots. He probably got caught in between himself because he saw the offense wasn't working."

Boston shot 33 percent from the field and turned the ball over 17 times (for 19 points).

You want to know what a recipe for defeat looks like?

Shooting that poorly and turning the ball over that many times, is a start.

And when you consider so much of Rondo's game is dependent on others making shots, it's not all that surprising that the Celtics All-Star's numbers weren't nearly as impressive as they usually are.

"We had a lot of empty possessions," Rivers said.

And while Rondo isn't responsible for all that is wrong with the Celtics offense, his play - maybe as much as anyone on the roster - can impact the game significantly.

While Boston had its problems getting stops down the stretch, they still held the Sixers to just 82 points and even won the battle on the boards, 48-37.

There was certainly room for the defense to have been better, but the C's biggest issue on Wednesday was their offense - or lack of it.

And right or wrong, that responsibility ultimately falls under the duties of Rondo who has been arguably the most consistent player in this series.

Boston was within striking distance most of the night, but you never got the feeling that they were in total control.

Part of that had to do with Rondo, who normally makes a major impact on the game.

That wasn't the case on Wednesday as the Sixers seemed to have finally found a way to cool off the one player they seemingly never had an answer for until Wednesday.

Rivers thinks Rondo's biggest problem was simply trying to find that balance between getting his teammates going offensively, and looking for his own points.

"I thought he was trying to orchestrate the offense and try to go, and he probably got caught in the middle tonight," Rivers said. "It happens, but he'll be better."

He has to be if the Celtics want to win Game 7 and with it, advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

"Win or go home. Confidence is very high," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "We've been here before; very experienced. All out. Nothing less."

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”