Rondo's triple-double another sign of growth

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Rondo's triple-double another sign of growth

WASHINGTON If you didn't know better, you'd think Rajon Rondo's triple-double in Boston's 94-86 win over Washington was just another day on the job.

To his Boston Celtics teammates and most followers of the NBA, Rondo racking up triple-doubles doesn't generate much attention.

In fact, not an eyebrow was raised as Rondo had 18 points along with 14 assists and 11 rebounds. It was his 14th career triple-double, and eighth during the regular season.

"He's been a walking triple-double since he walked into the league," said Paul Pierce. "He's very unique, unlike a lot of point guards in the league."

Kevin Garnett added, "That's . . . the Golden Child. He fills every category up . . . including turnovers. You know what I mean? That's my dog, though. His influence on the game is so, so special."

Sunday's performance was yet another game in which Rondo's perimeter shooting seemed to open things up for him and his Celtics teammates.

In the third quarter, the Celtics were on the short end of a 15-7 run by the Wizards, which cut Boston's lead to nine points.

It was a tightly contested 17-foot jumper by Rondo that pushed the lead back to double figures.

"That wouldn't have happened last year," said coach Doc Rivers. "That was great to see."

Rivers added, "He's far more assertive. He's comfortable taking jumpshots."

Even on a night when Rondo's all-around game was exceptional, his comments were centered around doling out the praise - much like he does passes - to his teammates.

"Without these guys, I don't know where I would be," Rondo said. "Not just the vets; my ex-teammates that I played with. It's the coaching staff as well. They always been very high on me and praised me and continue to want me to do good. It's a team effort and we got the win."

Indeed, the more you watch Rondo, the more you see the growth in his game. While the jumper remains a work in progress, it's clearly better now than it has been at any time in his career.

He's even developed a low-post game, one in which he posted up John Wall who is a couple inches taller, and still managed to score in the paint.

"I've been trying to post all season," Rondo said. "It was one play."

And it worked. And chances are he'll look to it again at some point, well aware that it becomes another tool in Rondo's growth as he continues to emerge as one of the NBA's best all-around players.

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”