Friday FT's: Your Rondo Fix; KG earns lockout praise

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Friday FT's: Your Rondo Fix; KG earns lockout praise

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read. In spite of the NBA lockout, there are still plenty of hoops to talk about.

With the NBA season is a state of uncertainty, how about some Rajon Rondo news to get you through this week:

Rondo has been keeping in shape at the University of Kentucky in workouts organized by Oklahoma City Thunder centerUK alum Nazr Mohammed. According to Mohammeds tweets, Rondo has been joined by Cs rookie JaJuan Johnson, former Celtic Lester Hudson, among other players.

Growing up, Rondo developed a love for football before he began playing basketball. He showed off his skills in this video and then did some friendly boasting to Tennessee Titans quarterback (and Massachusetts native) Matt Hasselbeck on Twitter:

@RajonRondo: "Hey @Hasselbeck, I'm ready... http:taps.lapVVETT"

@Hasselbeck: "@RajonRondo Good hands but can you run routes too? RedZoneFadeRoute 3HourDriveToNashville"

@RajonRondo: "@Hasselbeck of course aint much I can't do"

Last week we told you Rondo was going to team up with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh for charity. For those who cringe at the image of Rondo running the court with the Heats trio, dont worry -- hell only be teammates with two of them. (Does that help at all?)

The rosters were announced on Thursday for the South Florida All-Star Classic, taking place on October 8 at Florida International University. Rondo is slated to play alongside James and Bosh, as well as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Rudy Gay, Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams, Jonny Flynn, and Damon Jones.

On the opposite side, Wade will headline a team including Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, John Wall, Caron Butler, Dorell Wright, Wesley Matthews, and Eddy Curry. (Rosters are subject to change.)

Tickets for the South Florida All-Star Classic sold out in less than two hours. The game will be streamlined online at CBSMiami.com beginning at 7:30pm on Saturday night.

And last but not least, Rondo shared which crowd he considers to be the most obnoxious in the NBA (and its not the Lakers).

KG Draws Praise During Lockout
Kevin Garnett was in the news this week for his presence during NBA lockout negotiations. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports praised Garnett for his involvement in the Players Association:For Garnett to privately fight for the union in meetings, to implore the players to make no more undue concessions even if it means they sit out the season, has to be one of the most unselfish acts in these labor talks. Theyll call him greedy, ungrateful, a pig, and theyll be wrong. Theres no winning for Garnett in this labor fight, unless hes left something for the next generation of players, the way his predecessors did for him.What hes doing now, to me, it says a lot about K.G., says a younger NBA player who made about 5 million last season. Hes willing to sit out the year, and give up 21 million at the end of his last big contract, and probably his last really good chance to win another ring. For him, this is about the principle.I dont want to hear this stuff from our guys saying, Oh, he can afford to sit out. Hes made a lot of money. I respect the expletive out of those guys standing up for us right now, him, Kobe, all of them.

Wojnarowskis assessment of Garnett during this time is in line with the sentiments shared by so many players when they join the Celtics -- if you are on the same side as Garnett, he is one of the most committed teammates you could have.

Doc Dresses the Part

"Doc" may only be a nickname, but this week Celtics head coach Doc Rivers dressed the part when he visited patients at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. Rivers also posed for photos and signed autographs during the visit, which commemorated the Celtics 25-year partnership with the hospital.

It was a lot of fun walking around and visiting with patients and their families, Rivers said. To be a part of this event, celebrating the 25th year partnership between the Celtics and New England Baptist, was a great experience.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@nate_robinson: "@PeteCarroll wish u would let me play football coach I could be good help, next time uBetter give me a tryout TeamUbetter lol"

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Alton Lister, who played for the Celtics during the 1996 and 1997 seasons, turned 53 on October 1 . . . Tom Boswell, who played for the Celtics in the late 1970's, turned 58 on October 2. Boswell won a title with the Celtics during the 1975-76 season . . . Willie Naulls, a member of the 1964, '65, and '66 Celtics, turned 77 on October 7. He won a championship in all three seasons with the C's.

This Week in Celtics History

On October 5, 1950, the Celtics selected Bob Cousy from the Chicago Stags in the dispersal draft. Cousy went on to become a 13-time NBA All-Star and won six championships with the Celtics . . . On that date in 1989, the Celtics acquired John Bagley from the New Jersey Nets in exchange for two future second-round picks . . . On October 6, 2010, the Celtics signed Mario West as a free agent. He was waived by the C's that month and played 42 games for the Maine Red Claws before signing with the New Jersey Nets late in the season.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Horford admits he was 'very emotional' after 'special' win

Horford admits he was 'very emotional' after 'special' win

CLEVELAND – For about 30 or so seconds following Boston’s 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland, Al Horford was not Al Horford.

He’s a passionate player, but seldom is it on display in as outwardly a fashion as it was following their Game 3 victory.

In an interview with CSN’s Abby Chin after the game, Horford tried to put into words what the victory meant.

But the aggressive high-fives to teammates passing him by, the intense way he looked into the camera … that spoke volumes about what this game meant to the veteran big man.

“It’s big, it’s big!” Horford said in between high-fives with Jonas Jerebko and other Celtics who came past him.

“A lot of people doubting us out there!” Horford said, staring intently into the camera as if he was saying, ‘yeah, I’m talking about you!’”

Less than 24 hours after the game, Horford’s emotions had cooled down considerably.

“It was an emotional game,” he told CSN following a short practice at the Q Arena on Monday. “Just, having to hear … since the blowout, everybody counting us out. Everybody really believing that it was over.”

The Celtics came into Game 3 having lost both Games 1 and 2 at home by a combined 57 points which includes the worst playoff loss (Game 2, 130-86) in franchise history.

So with that as the backdrop, knowing full well that no one outside of their locker room gave them an ice cube in hell’s chance at winning Game 3, the victory brought about a level of satisfaction that Celtics players had seldom experienced before if at all.

“The emotions at that time were high for our group,” Horford admitted. “And it shows what we’ve been talking about all year, a resilient group that has a lot of fight in them. We were hit with some adversity with Isaiah being down but our group responded.”

Thomas re-aggravated a right hip injury in Game 2, and was later ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. 

After falling behind 77-56 in the third quarter, the Celtics closed out the third with a 26-10 run to come within 87-82 going into the fourth quarter. During the run, Marcus Smart had 11 points which turned out to be equal to LeBron James’ scoring output … for the entire game.

This is Horford's 10th NBA season, all of which have included a trip to the postseason.

That, combined with having won a pair of national championships when he played at the University of Florida, serves as a reminder that the 30-year-old has been on the winning ledger of big games before.

But even he acknowledged Sunday’s Game 3 win was … different.

“I have had plenty of moments like this,” Horford said. “But this was definitely emotional. This was very emotional, exciting, on the road, no one really giving us any chance. To be able to come through like that, it just felt great. I’ve been part of emotional wins, but this one was a special one.”

That was evident in Horford’s energy-charged, post-game comments.

“Heart! Heart! This team got heart!” he yelled. “We got beat bad (in Game 2), but it’s all about how you rebound!”

And we get that message, loud and clear!

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”