Rondo finds his shooting stroke in San Antonio

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Rondo finds his shooting stroke in San Antonio

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

SAN ANTONIO It was one of those games that Boston Celtics fans likely couldn't help but find themselves saying something they probably never thought they'd say: "Rondo, keep shooting the jump shot."

And the end result was an impressive 22-point, 14-assist night in helping the Celtics defeat the San Antonio Spurs, 107-97.

"Today, we kept moving the ball and Rondo kept taking shots," said coach Doc Rivers. "It was terrific. They just found the shots, and Rondo stepped up and took shots."

Rondo was 11-for-20 from the field, with seven of his made baskets being at least 13 feet away.

If he's knocking down those shots, and still managing to get his teammates involved, he becomes nearly unstoppable.

The Spurs' strategy against Rondo wasn't all that different than what most teams employ.

Rondo is at his best in transition, both as a scorer and as a distributor.

So defensively, you want to make it more of a half court game and force him to become a shooter.

The Spurs did just that -- and did he ever make them pay for it.

And when you factor in that Rondo is often on the floor with four other players who are even better shooters than he is, Rondo's ability to knock down jumpers makes the Celtics offense even more lethal.

"It gives them another scorer around the court," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "He did a great job of knocking down shots tonight."

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

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Ian Thomsen adds his thoughts on potential Celtics trade rumors and who he believes the C's need to target before the trade deadline.

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

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Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline.