Rondo, Celtics have up and down night

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Rondo, Celtics have up and down night

ATLANTA For about two minutes on Tuesday, Rajon Rondo might have been the best player in the NBA with the way he was knocking down jumpers, getting steals and finding teammates for alley-oops.

But his play, like the Boston Celtics as a team, was filled with spurts of success followed by stretches in which they struggled.

Those rough times far outweighed the good ones, leading to a disappointing 87-86 loss for the Celtics.

Boston still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 in Boston on Thursday.

Rondo had a typical Rondo-esque night, finishing with 13 points, 12 assists and five steals along with five turnovers.

The C's love it when Rondo is aggressive, but there's no getting around the fact that while he made some really clutch shots, he missed a ton of them, too.

His 13 points scored came on 6-for-17 shooting which is an inefficient night shooting the ball by anyone's standards.

Making matters worse for the Celtics was that Rondo's poor shooting night came in the same game that Pierce (7-for-17 shooting) had his shooting struggles as well.

"There's nights like Sunday when Paul makes all his shots, and then there's nights like tonight when he and I had low field goal percentages," Rondo said.

Even with his poor shooting, the C's realize without Rondo's spurt of brilliance, they would have never had a shot at stealing a victory.

Trailing 66-54 with less than three minutes to play in the third, the Celtics went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter.

During that stretch, an alley-oop pass to Ryan Hollins, a lay-up, a steal and subsequent jumper and then another lay-up. Capping off the 10-0 run was a reverse lay-up by Mickael Pietrus.

"It was tremendous," Pierce said of Rondo's play in the final minutes of the third quarter. "He took over the game there in the third when it looked like it could have really gotten out of hand, and we fought back."

Said Ray Allen: "He (Rondo) played great. Down the stretch, his energy was always moving forward. At the end, it was unfortunate. If we had one more time-out, it would have been a different scenario. So, we have to go back to the drawing board."

And in the game's final seconds, Rondo had what appeared to be a chance to save the C's one last time.

Atlanta had the ball with 10.9 seconds to play. When they tried to in-bound the ball to Joe Johnson, Rondo intercepted it and began to head up court. With no time-outs remaining, he had no choice but to attack quickly. With his former prep school teammate Josh Smith defending, Rondo ran a quick pick-and-roll with Kevin Garnett that resulted in Al Horford switching out on Rondo.

Horford's defense led to Rondo losing control of the ball as Smith deflected it towards the sideline as time expired.

It was a fitting end to the kind of night it was for Rondo and the Celtics, one with a slew of successful stretches of play - but not enough to get the victory.

Source: Celtics offseason focus is an All-Star frontcourt addition

Source: Celtics offseason focus is an All-Star frontcourt addition

WALTHAM, Mass. – No matter how an NBA team’s season ends, change is inevitable.
 
And while there’s no doubt that the Celtics are on the right track in terms of their ascension in the NBA, it's too soon to tell how many players on the Celtics’ 15-man roster that Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations, will bring back next season.

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“One thing I do know. He’ll make the best decisions for the team and if players don’t end up being back here, I wish the best for them,” said Avery Bradley.  “Those are my brothers. We all had a special year. I appreciate everything, all the time I had with them. I’d love for all those guys to be back. We’ll see.”
 
And with Boston coming off its first trip to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012, adding just any player won’t cut it.
 
The Celtics’ mindset now isn’t just to improve, but get good enough to where they can better compete with the likes of Cleveland, which just ended the Celtics’ season with a Game 5 thumping.
 
The most significant move made by the Celtics last offseason was the signing of Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract.
 
Like most of his Boston teammates this season, Horford is eager to see what changes are in store this summer.
 
“We just have to wait and see,” Horford said. “We had such a good year. A lot of positive things. It’ll be interesting to see what Danny, the organization feels is going to be the next step.”
 
Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt.
 
That makes sense when you consider how guard-dominant the Celtics were this season and how that had a negative impact on the team’s rebounding and, to a lesser degree, their defense as a whole.
 
Gordon Hayward has emerged as a target, but all indications – for now at least – point toward him returning to Utah.
 
The Celtics may pursue Los Angeles Clippers big man Blake Griffin. Although like Hayward, he too is expected to re-sign with his current team for a max contract (for Griffin that would be five years, $175 million).
 
While trades are certainly in the cards for Boston, at this point the Celtics seem more inclined to improve their overall talent base via the draft and free agency.
 
“It’s always a good thing when you have the opportunity to add value to your team and don’t have to change your team too much,” said Celtics’ reserve Gerald Green, who will be a free agent this summer. “I’m going to be very interested to see what they do as far as building a team. We’re in a good place right now as far as being where we want to be organization-wise. I feel like we’re one or two steps away from actually being at the Finals. I think Danny has some things to think about, but I’m sure he’s going to do the job. I’ve seen Danny go to work in these situations. He always makes the team better. I’m pretty sure he’s got something planned that, at the end of the day, is going to make this organization better.”
 
Indeed, the Celtics could very well strengthen their position for next season by simply locking up some of their core players who may hit the free agent market soon.
 
Boston may look to work out an extension with Isaiah Thomas before the start of this season. Because if he hits free agency in the summer of 2018, he will be poised to command a salary that in year one would be worth more than the entire four-year, $27 million deal he signed with Phoenix in 2014.
 
“Boston’s changed my career, changed my life,” Thomas said. “I would love to be here long-term and win championships here. But as you guys know, it’s a business and anything can happen. I know that and understand that. But I would love to be here. This has been everything to me. This city, this organization … it’s been good.”

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet


Minutes after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, the folks at Bleacher Report tweeted a video that celebrated the C’s one victory in the series. 

Ouch. 

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There are 17 Celtics championship banners that actually exist and hang at TD Garden. You won’t be seeing one for being a “finalist” or celebrating an actual sweep, such as Spurs over Cavs in the NBA Finals.