Rondo: First half, suspension behind us

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Rondo: First half, suspension behind us

ORLANDO, Fla. When the news came that Rajon Rondo would not be an all-star, he did what most NBA players do during the All-Star break - he made plans to soak in the warm, balmy beach weather of the Bahamas.

Then came word that he would in fact be an All-star replacement for Atlanta's Joe Johnson.

Bye-bye Bahamas.

Hello, Orlando.

Rondo made it into town early Friday morning and discussed a number of topics, chief among them being his two-game suspension for throwing a basketball at official Sean Wright at Detroit on Sunday, and the role that he has to play in the Celtics turning around what has been a disappointing first half of the season.

Not surprisingly, Rondo didn't have much to say about the suspension which not only hurt the Celtics (15-17) in their loss to the Pistons, but was certainly a factor in the two games he did not play in because of the suspension.

Both ended in losses for the Celtics, who come into the break with a five-game losing streak.

As far as the ejection at Detroit - the first of his career - Rondo said fans and foes shouldn't get too comfortable with him having that kind of outburst.

"I don't think you guys will see that again," Rondo told reporters on Friday. "So obviously, I learned from it. I'm an emotional player. I just felt things were different. And I reacted the way I reacted."

Moments before Rondo tossed the ball at Wright's chest, he drove into the lane and missed a shot. After the miss, Pistons center Greg Monroe landed on him. Rondo thought he was fouled, and didn't waste any time voicing his displeasure to Wright about what he felt was a bad non-call.

Next thing you know, Rondo has the ball in his hands. The ball leaves his hands with some serious torque, hitting Wright in the cheststomach area.

Just like that, two technicals and an automatic ejection for Rondo.

"That's in the past," Rondo said of the incident. "I made a mistake. It is what it is."

He's right.

At this point, there's no reason for Rondo or the Celtics to dwell on what happened, or view it necessarily as a major issue.

The bigger concern for them has to be how to turn around their season which is spiraling in the wrong direction - unless they want to be in the NBA lottery.

When you look at the C's roster, there's no shortage of players who need to perform at a higher level, more consistently.

Despite this being his third straight all-star appearance, Rondo includes himself in that group.

"I can do a lot more," he said. "I hold myself to a high standard. I'm not pleased with the way the team is playing, so I think I can do a better job of maybe being vocal, speaking up as far as things needing to get done."

Rondo added, "I'm not satisfied where we are. I'm not satisfied where I am. I want to continue to get better for my team. I really do believe we'll be better before the end of the year."

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.