Rondos personal checklist of improvements

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Rondos personal checklist of improvements

WALTHAM -- With every year that passes, Rajon Rondo continues to improve facets of his game that bolster his rank among point guards -- and all players -- in the NBA. This season, the 26-year-old has a checklist of areas he would like to work on over the next months.

I want to take care of my turnovers, he said after the Boston Celtics first practice of the season on Saturday. I want to get more looks at the basket, I want to be more aggressive to the rim. I want to get to the line, obviously, maybe seven, eight times a game, realistically.

What does Rondo have to do to surpass last seasons performance in those categories? Take a look at how the Celtics floor leader fared and how he compared to others in the league.

Turnovers per Game

Rondos goal: Limit turnovers

2011-12 regular season: 3.6 TPG, 5th among all players

1. Deron Williams (4.0)
2. John Wall (3.9)
3. Kevin Durant (3.8)
4. Steve Nash (3.7)
5. Rajon Rondo (3.6)

2011-12 postseason: 3.8 TPG, 3rd among all players

1. Chris Paul (3.9)
2. Carlos Boozer (3.8)
3. Rajon Rondo (3.8)
4. LeBron James (3.5)
5. Baron Davis (3.3)

Free Throw Attempts per Game

Rondos goal: Attempt seven or eight free throws per game

2011-12 regular season: 3.4 FTA, 64th among all players, 26th among all guards

Top 5 Guards in FTAsRegular Season Game
1. Kobe Bryant (7.8)
2. Russell Westbrook (6.3)
3. Derrick Rose (6.1)
4. John Wall (6.1)
5. Dwyane Wade (6.1)

2011-12 postseason: 2.9 FTA, 49th among all players, 20th among all guards

Top 5 Guards in FTAsPostseason Game
1. Kobe Bryant (7.9)
2. Dwyane Wade (7.2)
3. James Harden (6.3)
4. Tony Parker (6.3)
5. Russell Westbrook (5.6)

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.