Rondo the scorer takes over in Game 3


Rondo the scorer takes over in Game 3

PHILADELPHIA NBA scouting reports on Rajon Rondo vary with the exception of one thing -- they all want him to shoot. A lot.

The Philadelphia 76ers got their wish in Game 3, but the outcome wasn't quite what they were looking for.

Rondo, looking for his shot early and often, made the Sixers pay for allowing him to get into a flow scoring the ball.

When he's doing that, the Celtics are difficult to compete with, let alone defeat.

Philadelphia can attest to that after the C's 107-91 win, a game that wasn't nearly as close as the still-lopsided final score would indicate.

Rondo had 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting, to go with 14 assists and just one turnover.

Of his 23 points, 13 came in the first quarter.

The game plan coming in was to get the ball to Kevin Garnett on the post as often as possible. But the Sixers defense was so focused on taking that away and limiting the touches Paul Pierce got, they left Rondo with little choice but to attack a relatively wide open paint area.

Rondo said his success as a scorer began with the Celtics collectively playing good defense.

"I got out in transition," he said. "We got out as a team in transition, but it started when we got a couple stops early. Then we went back and forth trading baskets, but other than that, I had some matchups in transition and wanted to try and attack the rim."

It was the kind of performance that Rondo delivers often during the playoffs.

But there was a different kind of focus with Rondo on Wednesday night, the kind that speaks to how locked in he was heading into Game 4.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers noticed Rondo seemed, well, different during the team's Wednesday morning shoot-around.

"Rondo was extremely serious in shoot-around," Rivers said. "I thought he really set the tone for our mental approach and that's what we need to stay in."

Said Rondo: "I believed we needed this game. It wasn't just me, it was everyone."

Even when it comes to praise, Rondo's still in pass-first mode.

But as he continues to evolve as an elite NBA point guard, he's continuing to improve in figuring out when to dominate the game as a passer, and when to torch all those scouting reports about his shooting and showcase his ability to score the ball.

"Teams dictate their defense by trying to play off of Rondo and do different things," Rivers said. "When Rondo becomes an offensive threat ... Kevin becomes a better offensive player, and Paul (Pierce), become better offensive players because you can't spend the game trying to help off of him. I thought he set the tone for us."

Ingram, not Simmons, set to attend NBA Combine


Ingram, not Simmons, set to attend NBA Combine

BOSTON – The list of players who will be in attendance at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago next week has been released.

And not surprisingly, there are some projected near the top of the NBA draft board who will not be in attendance.

LSU’s one-and-done stud Ben Simmons, projected to be among the top two players selected, will not be in attendance.

Joining Simmons among the more notable players who won’t be in Chi-town is Croatian big man Dragan Bender whose current team Maccabi Tel Aviv is still in the middle of their season. He is projected by most as being the third overall pick. 

Providence star guard Kris Dunn, projected as a top-10 pick, will be among those in attendance, as well as his Friars teammate Ben Bentil.

The Celtics usually cast a pretty wide net at the combine, but this year it’ll likely be even wider due to the fact that Boston has eight picks that represents 13.3 percent of the draft.

Boston has three first-round picks, with the first to be determined during the draft lottery later this month. The pick comes from Brooklyn, and will be no worse than the sixth overall selection.

The Celtics also have the 16th and 23rd overall picks in the first round, along with five (31st, 35th, 45th, 51st and 58th) in the second round.

Here's the full list of prospects attending the NBA Combine:

Player College/Club
 Ron Baker Wichita State
 Wade Baldwin Vanderbilt
 Cat Barber North Carolina State
 Malik Beasley Florida State
 DeAndre Bembry St. Joseph's
 Ben Bentil Providence
 Jaron Blossomgame Clemson
 Joel Bolomboy Weber State
 Malcolm Brogdon Virginia
 Jaylen Brown California
 Robert Carter Maryland
 Marquese Chriss Washington
 Elgin Cook Oregon
 Isaiah Cousins Oklahoma
 Deyonta Davis Michigan State
 Cheick Diallo Kansas
 Kris Dunn Providence
 Henry Ellenson Marquette
 Perry Ellis Kansas
 AJ English Iona
 Kay Felder Oakland
 Dorian Finney-Smith Florida
 Michael Gbinije Syracuse
 Daniel Hamilton Connecticut
 AJ Hammons Purdue
 Josh Hart Villanova
 Nigel Hayes Wisconsin
 Buddy Hield Oklahoma
 Brandon Ingram Duke
 Demetrius Jackson Notre Dame
 Justin Jackson North Carolina
 Brice Johnson North Carolina
 Damian Jones Vanderbilt
 Skal Labissiere Kentucky
 Dedric Lawson Memphis
 Jake Layman Maryland
 Marcus Lee Kentucky
 Caris LeVert Michigan
 Thon Maker Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute
 Patrick McCaw UNLV
 Isaiah Miles St. Joseph's
 Jamal Murray Kentucky
 Malik Newman Mississippi State
 Georges Niang Iowa State
 Chinanu Onuaku Louisville
 Marcus Paige North Carolina
 Gary Payton II Oregon State
 Jakob Poeltl Utah
 Taurean Prince Baylor
 Zhou Qi Xinjiang (China)
 Malachi Richardson Syracuse
 Wayne Selden Kansas
 Pascal Siakam New Mexico State
 Diamond Stone Maryland
 Caleb Swanigan Purdue
 Melo Trimble Maryland
 Tyler Ulis Kentucky
 Jarrod Uthoff Iowa
 Denzel Valentine Michigan State
 Isaiah Whitehead Seton Hall
 Troy Williams Indiana
 Kyle Wiltjer Gonzaga
 Stephen Zimmerman UNLV

Is Danny Ainge or Larry Bird a better NBA GM?


Is Danny Ainge or Larry Bird a better NBA GM?

Danny Ainge and Larry Bird were both hired as NBA general managers in 2003. Ainge was back with the Celtics, where he spent the prime seasons of his playing career. And Bird went back to the Pacers, where he coached for three seasons.

There's no question that Bird was the better player. But who has been the better GM?

Trenni Kusnierek has a very interesting argument for why Ainge gets the edge. Watch the video above for her reasoning.

Bird not renewing Vogel's contract; McHale not a candidate


Bird not renewing Vogel's contract; McHale not a candidate

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, a good friend of Brad Stevens, is out in Indiana.

Pacers president Larry Bird made the official announcement on Thursday.

Vogel’s contract was up in Indiana and Bird elected to not renew it. That, according to Bird, was hard for Vogel to hear.

Both Bird and Vogel spoke shortly before Bird’s press conference with members of the media, and that’s when Bird gave him the news.

There is speculation now as to who will take over as head coach. With Kevin McHale removing himself from consideration for the Sacramento Kings job, there was some thought that he could become the head coach of the Pacers under good friend and former teammate Bird.

That isn’t going to happen either.