Celtics stay undefeated in post-Rondo world

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Celtics stay undefeated in post-Rondo world

It wouldn't be right to comment on last night's Celtics win without first commenting on their opponent. It's not that I want to take away from Boston's second straight victory in the post-Rondo era, I just think that it's important to remember that the Kings stink. Very badly. Like Logan Mankins' jock strap after a Training Camp double session in the blistering summer sun.

Now to that, you might say: "Wait a second. Wasn't this the same Kings team that beat the Celtics by 26 points in December?"

And I'll respond: Not really.

The roster is the same, but back then the Kings were at home, and in the midst of BY FAR their best stretch of the season. The win over the Celtics was part of four victories in five games for Sacramento which is the only time they've achieved that all year.

But since then, the Kings have slowly deteriorated into the team that you saw last night. They've gone 4-10 in their last 14 games, with their only wins coming against the Cavs, Bobcats and Wizards (x2). And just for good measure, the entire organization and fan base has been caught in a whirlwind of emotion surrounding the team's potential move to Seattle.

At least for now, it's bad to be the King(s). And that was certainly the case last night.

But with all that being said, there was something truly refreshing about the Celtics' performance. I'm not going to say that it was because Rondo wasn't there, because even if that's the case, it was a win against the Kings. It doesn't prove anything in terms of answering the question: Are the Celtics are better without their point guard?

I'll admit that it's a little strange to hear players like Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass speak on the record about how much more comfortable they are without Rondo on the floor. But at the same time, of course, they're more comfortable. It means they get more shots. For Terry and Lee, they get more minutes. Name me a player who wouldn't be more comfortable with that arrangement. The question is whether, in the long run, the Celtics are better off with Rondo on the floor, or with a happier crew of role players and that won't be answered for sometime.

But in the meantime, no one will complain about performances like last night. Even if it came against the dregs of the NBA, seeing the hometown team click and actually look like they enjoy each other's company is a welcomed sight. And chances are we'll see it again tomorrow night, when the C's host a Magic squad that's lost 18 of its last 20 games and just lost Glen Davis to a broken drum stick. Orlando will be ripe for a Kings-like beat down.

After that? Well, Super Bowl Sunday brings a big time match-up to the Garden: The Los Angeles Clippers.

Granted, the Clips will likely be without Chris Paul, but that only seems fair. It would be even more fair if Blake Griffin hops in that Kia Time Machine and comes back as the 37-year-old version of his current self.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Ingram, not Simmons, set to attend NBA Combine

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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?

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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

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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.