Rondo impresses with strong showing, play calling

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Rondo impresses with strong showing, play calling

BOSTON You know you're a pretty good point guard when you can have an 11 assist night, your team wins on the road, and most believe you had a not-so-great game.

Welcome to the world that Rajon Rondo lives in.

While his performance in Tuesday's win at Cleveland might have left some questions about his play (he was scoreless, missed all six shots he took and had five turnovers), there was no mistaking the strong showing he had in Wednesday's 102-96 win over Milwaukee.

Rondo had the kind of bounce-back game the Celtics desperately needed, tallying 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double this season.

And on top of that, he kept Milwaukee's high scoring guard Brandon Jennings in check most of the night.

Jennings, an 18.2 points per game scorer, had just six points against Boston on 2-for-11 shooting. The two shots he made, a pair of 3s, both came when Rondo was not on the floor.

As much as Rondo's numbers stood out, even more significant was the pace at which he played.

"Rondo's pace is important for us," said Kevin Garnett. "When nine (Rondo) in control of the ball, and he's not only rebounding but getting guys open shots and scoring the ball himself, it makes us a hard team to deal with."

Part of that pace had to do with Rondo's play-calling, which head coach Doc Rivers felt was particularly impressive in the second half.

"The first half we scored points," Rivers said. "But the second half was the first time in a while where he and the whole team he just kept calling different sets and we ran our stuff to score instead of just trying to play out of random and figure it out. That's what we did in the first half. Even though we had 50 points, it was almost happenstance."

In the second half, Rivers recalled Rondo calling out 12 different sets.

"And we got to the first option, the second option and it just looked organized and good," Rivers said. "That's who we are, and that's who we have to be. And I thought it was Rondo's doing."

First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

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First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

CHICAGO - First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox.

 

If this was some sort of must-win proposition for Clay Buchholz, he passed his test.

Buchholz found himself behind 2-0 just three batters in when he allowed a two-run homer to Jose Abreu, but he righted himself nicely after that.

Buchholz pitched seven innings and didn't allow another run. In fact, Buchholz only yielded two more hits after the first - both singles.

John Farrell said he wanted to see Buchholz attack the strike zone with his fastball, pitch with a quicker tempo and not rely so much on his secondary stuff. To varying degrees, Buchholz accomplished all three and finished strong - retiring the last 10 hitters in a row and 16 of the last 17.

 

Josh Rutledge had a nice night off the bench.

Rutledge was a last-minute addition to the lineup when Hanley Ramirez was scratched with the flu and Travis Shaw was shifted from third base to first base.

Rutledge reached base three times with two singles and a walk. One of the singles drove in the fourth run, scoring Chris Young with an important insurance run.

 

David Ortiz broke out of his U.S. Cellular slump in a big way.

Coming into the game, Ortiz was hitless here in his last 19 at-bats and when he hit into a double play in the first and flied to center in the third, that stretched to 0-for-21. Since the start of 2014, those first two at-bats made Ortiz 1-for-26.

But in the fifth, Ortiz hammered a pitch from Carlos Rodon into the seats in right for a two-run homer, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the series.

For all the talk about Ortiz's difficulty hitting lefties, he's now third among lefty batters in homers off lefthanded pitchers since last July 2.

 

The home run power continues to be in short supply beyond Ortiz.

Last season, the Red Sox didn't have anyone hit 20 homers other than the (then) 39-year-old Ortiz.

Might the same thing happen again this year?

Ortiz hit his sixth homer last night, again leading the club. Mookie Betts is the only other hitter on the Sox with more than three homers -- and he hasn't hit one in his last 58 at-bats, dating back a week and a half.

 

Tom Brady, Vanilla Ice look like BFFs at Under Armour event

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Tom Brady, Vanilla Ice look like BFFs at Under Armour event

Watch out Julian Edelman, Wes Welker and Alex Guerrero. Tom Brady just might have a new best friend. 

At an Under Armour event that took place on Wednesday, rapper Vanilla Ice snapped a selfie with the Patriots quarterback, who was grinning from ear to ear. 

In South Baltimore, "Armour Day" was held in order to celebrate Under Armour's 20th year in business. Brady was one of many athletes in attendance, including Jordan Spieth, Lindsey Vonn, Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis, Cal Ripken, Boomer Esiason and Roger Clemens. 

Brady is one of the faces of Under Armour, along with Spieth and Warriors guard Steph Curry. When he signed in 2010, he received equity in the company as part of the deal.