Rivers on Rondo: 'He's going to play'

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Rivers on Rondo: 'He's going to play'

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON As the media stepped on to the Boston Celtics' practice floor this morning, there was Rajon Rondo with the ball in hand, taking shots.

As the media moved in closer, the 6-foot-1 guard made an early exit to the trainer's room before any questions could be asked.

The fact that he was on the floor was one of the many indicators that the dislocated left elbow injury he suffered in the third quarter of Boston's 97-81 Game 3 win would not prevent him from playing tonight.

Moments ago, Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed that Rondo would in fact start in tonight's pivotal Game 4 matchup with the Heat.

"He's going to play, so we're good," Rivers said.

To the shock of many, Rondo returned to the floor in the Game 3 victory to give the C's their first win in the best-of-seven series that now stands at 2-1 in favor of the Heat.

Rondo had an MRI performed on Sunday, and team officials said the results were negative.

Because of that, the C's outlook heading into tonight's game is a bit more positive than it would have been if tonight's game featured a Rondo-less Celtics team.

"He's ready to go," said Boston guard Carlos Arroyo, who is on the active roster tonight. "He's a warrior. He demonstrated that last game. We were all surprised the fact that he came back after that injury. I know he's ready. He wants to play. He wants to win."

Rondo has been among the more reliable Celtics in recent years.

He is one of just three Celtics (Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are the others) to appear in all 71 of the C's postseason games over the last four seasons.

However, Boston has proven that even a Rondo-less Celtics team can be successful.

In his five seasons with the C's, Boston has a 17-9 record (65.4 percent) in regular season games that Rondo has missed. That's actually slightly better than the 241-143 record (62.8 percent) Boston has in games in which he played.

Still, there's no disputing that the Celtics are a better team with Rondo than without him.

If Rondo is limited, look for Delonte West (he's nursing a sore left shoulder injury) to see more minutes with Arroyo likely moving into the backup spot behind him. West has scored in double figures in each of the three playoff games against Miami.

"I'm always ready for the challenge," said Arroyo, who began this season as the starting point guard for the Miami Heat. "And obviously, playing my old team would be even more motivation for me."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.  

WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

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