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."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.