Rondo outsmarts them all in Celtics' win over Sixers

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Rondo outsmarts them all in Celtics' win over Sixers

BOSTON -- Try to get past Rajon Rondo's triple-double. It's a story, but not the story.

When the final buzzer sounded, Rondo's stat line was 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 17 assists. Fine. Rondo hit some extremely clutch jump shots in the fourth quarter, and turned into the Rondo we all "ooo" and "aww" at. But perhaps the two biggest plays of Rondo's night don't affect his numbers at all.

With about eight seconds remaining in the game and the C's up three points, Paul Pierce rose up and tried to seal the game. The shot came up short and the 76ers recovered. Racing down the court in transition, it looked as though they were going to get a good look at a three before time expired.

We yelled, we were yelling, Foul! Foul! Foul!," Doc Rivers said after the game.

A foul occurred on Jrue Holiday, with just over three seconds to play.

I didnt hear Rivers honestly," Rondo, who committed the foul, said. "I didnt hear anything. I was just trying to make the right decision. I didnt try to over-think the game but at the same time I got a quick flash about how they beat Chicago the other day. You know off a rebound they didnt call a time out they just pushed the ball up the floor and we were in kind of a scramble defense, so I thought just to foul.

The heads-up play by Rondo that had his coach raving about his smarts may have saved the game for the C's. Keyon Dooling, an NBA veteran guard who's been blown away by Rondo since he joined the team this season, is just as impressed with his knowledge as he is by his skill.

"I think sometimes his basketball intellect is overshadowed by some of his moments," Dooling said. "He's the smartest person in our game. If you look, he's a coach on the floor. I watched him the whole last five possessions and he was just coaching everybody. It kind of reminded me of Doc, the way he was calling each person, getting the eye contact, telling them what to do, telling them what to look for. It's pretty amazing to see him on the court. He's not so quiet and reserved when he's dictating policy on the court."

Rondo's stamp on the game wasn't finished yet though. Holiday hit both free throws and the C's called timeout. The Sixers had a foul to give, which meant it wasn't necessary to find Allen or Pierce. So what did Doc Rivers do? Draw up a play for (who else?) Rondo to receive the inbounds.

The hope, according to Pierce, was that it would "probably take a second off" the clock. Then Rondo would inbound it. "...but he used his speed, his intelligence and he ran out the clock. I thought it was a great play.

It was a good play," Sixers forward Andre Iguodala said. "To run off the clock, we were expecting them toget it in the front court and get a foul. But I think we could have done a better job of scoping it out, with Paul (Pierce) taking it out of bounds. With him being a clutch free throw shooter, you kind of figured something was up. Doc does a really good job of drawing plays up to end the games. You can put that in one of his all time plays, it was a good play."

Asked about the triple-double after the game, Rondo said, "I didnt think I would play the way I played tonight. I didnt get a nap today so I didnt know what to expect. But I was struggling with my shot early, and I was turning the ball over, so I was trying to do the intangibles, and do everything I could to help my team. And I came up with some rebounds, I came up with some assists, and it just happened to be a triple double tonight.

Rondo may have missed his nap earlier, but his awareness and speed late in the game put the Sixers to bed.

Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

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Kelly Olynyk talks about his shoulder injury; improving his consistency

Celtics forward/center Kelly Olynyk sits down with Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on Media Day to talk about how the recovery from his shoulder injury is progressing and becoming more consistent this season.

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely then discuss whether this is a make or break year for Olynyk, who will be a restricted free-agent at the end of the season.

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
 
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
 
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
 
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
 
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
 
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
 
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
 
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
 
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
 
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
 
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
 
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
 
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
 
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
 
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
 
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”