Rondo tells his side of the story


Rondo tells his side of the story

Today at Celtics practice, Rajon Rondo spoke for the first time since being suspended for last night's game, and his explanation of Atlanta BumpGate 2.0 actually makes a ton of sense.

According to Rondo, the whole thing was a joke. He's friendly with referee Rodney Mott, and was just messing around. "At the time of the bump, I had a triple double, we were up 10, I wasn't angry," he told reporters. Rondo's claim is supported by the video, which clearly shows Mott laughing as he walks away:

Rondo's playful intentions also make more sense when you remember that the guy who benefited from Mott's awful call was Josh Smith aka Rondo's high school roommate and one of his best friends in the league.

You know, the more we hear about this story, the more it seems like Rondo's biggest problem was how he handled the league's "investigation." We don't know exactly what he did, but he certainly pissed off a few people, and that seems avoidable. Why not just tell the league: "Listen, I get it. I can't make contact with the referees. But this was just a joke. Rodney is my friend. Why don't you ask him why he didn't call a 'T'? Ask him if he felt threatened."

Or who knows. Maybe he did. Maybe he tried to explain himself, and the league just wasn't having it. "How can you be so obtuse?!" Rondo screamed. I'm guessing.

But either way, with today's media session, the latest chapter of Atlanta BumpGate is officially over. And unless Danny Ferry has another trick up his sleeve, let's hope it was the finale.

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Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue


Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue

Tonight’s pregame number to watch is 45.4%. That was the Celtics' score frequency on pick and rolls finished by the screener last season, which was the worst rate in the NBA.

Score Frequency: The percentage of possession in which the team or player scores at least 1 point.

The major problem for the Celtics last season was personnel, as Jared Sullinger finished the most pick and roll plays for the C’s after setting a screen, and he was -- to put it nicely -- freaking terrible. Sullinger was the second-worst roll/pop man in the league, averaging a paltry 0.87 points per possession.

Fortunately, the Celtics replaced Jared Sullinger with four-time All-Star Al Horford, who is one of the elite roll/pop men in the NBA. Last season, Horford finished fifth in the NBA averaging 1.13 points per possession as a roll/pop man and boasted a more than solid 57.1 eFG% on those plays. 

eFG% (Effective Field Goal Percentage): Measures field goal percentage adjusting for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. The equation is ((FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

If you watched the preseason, then you already know the kind of impact Horford can have on the Celtics half court offense. So keep an eye out for those pick and rolls tonight and throughout the season, and we should see that 45.4% Score Frequency jump somewhere closer to 50%.