Rondo steals spotlight with triple double

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Rondo steals spotlight with triple double

BOSTON -- Before the start of Game 3, Doc Rivers was asked if he thought Rajon Rondo would be affected by his one-game suspension served on Tuesday night.

He shouldnt be, but who knows, Rivers said. You never know how that goes. You really dont. You dont know if hes going to try to do too much or do too little. A lot of guys, when they come back, they dont want to get in the way. And we want him to get in the way. We want him to have the ball and be aggressive.

Fortunately for the Celtics, there are two halves of basketball.

Its just a matter of timing, Rondo said following the Celtics 90-84 overtime win. A lot of turnovers in the first half. I missed a couple of shots, but my teammates believed in me, told me to keep going. And thats what I tried to do for my team, was hang in there. And we found a way to get the win.

Rondo came out looking, well, not like Rondo in the first quarter. He shot 0-for-3 (two points off free throws), dished two assists, grabbed a rebound, and committed two turnovers in 10 minutes.

He did not attempt a single shot in 9:29 second quarter minutes, dishing three assists but committing three turnovers and drawing a foul.

For a point guard, they get mixed up sometimes, executing, running the stuff, said Rivers. Sometimes for them it means not being aggressive. And its funny, we had an exchange in the third or fourth quarter. I said, Hey, youve got to be aggressive. And he said, Well, I thought you wanted me to run the stuff, I said, Yeah, and be aggressive. You have to do both at the same time. Then finally I just told him, Be a scorer. Just attack. And I thought that freed him up a little bit.

Rondo listened. He became more aggressive offensively out of halftime, attempting seven field goals and making two. He began picking up the pace on what he does best -- dishing the ball (three assists) and sneaking in for rebounds (four boards).

With the Celtics up 60-58 after three quarters, Rondo turned it on in the fourth. Just over three minutes into the quarter, Rondo drove the lane, pulled off a spin move at the basket on Jannero Pargo, then dished the ball to Paul Pierce to put the Celtics up, 70-64. On the next possession, Pierce picked off Tracy McGrady and passed it off to Rondo, who finished it off with a reverse layup to build the Celtics lead to eight. Before regulation had ended, Rondo had recorded his seventh career postseason triple-double.

Rondo added another five points and two rebounds in overtime, bringing his game total to 17 points (7-22 FG), 14 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals, and six turnovers.

It started with defense, he said. In the second half, we got stops and allowed myself and my team to run on the fastbreak. The floor opened up, guys were trailing in for jump shots, I was able to attack the paint, KG was sealing it. It was a matter of a good flow, but like I said it started with defense and getting stops.

The night started off one way for Rondo and finished another. The end result was the difference in two halves of basketball and five extra minutes of overtime.

Theres going to be nights like tonight where I miss a lot of shots, said Rondo. But I try to continue to fight through it, continue to grind, and get the win for my team.

LeBron James hasn't always been dominant the game after a bad performance

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LeBron James hasn't always been dominant the game after a bad performance

Conventional wisdom has been spreading almost from the moment Avery Bradley's shot (finally) dropped through the cylinder in the closing seconds Sunday night, and it goes something like this:

LeBron James was so bad in Game 3 that, determined to exact revenge, he's going to come out like a force of nature and obliterate the Celtics in Game 4.

Makes sense. But, you know, LeBron has had other playoff games in which he's scored fewer than 12 points. He's always been good the next time out -- certainly better than >12 points -- but nothing sweeping or historic:

And amazingly enough, his teams lost two of those three games.

So if you were thinking the Celtics' Game 3 triumph virtually guaranteed a Cavalier victory and a dominant LeBron James performance in Game 4 . . . well, maybe not.

Amir Johnson a game-time decision for Game 4 with shoulder injury

Amir Johnson a game-time decision for Game 4 with shoulder injury


CLEVELAND – Brad Stevens won’t know until shortly before tip-off tonight if he will have to make another lineup change.
 
Amir Johnson, whose right shoulder was injured in the Celtics' 111-108 Game 3 win on Sunday, is questionable for tonight’s Game 4.
 
“It’s better for sure,” Johnson told CSN this morning. “Yesterday, it was hard to lift. Today, I can move it all around. In shoot-around, I’m going to get a couple shots, see how it feels and go from there.
 
He added, “it’s definitely going to be a game-time decision. I’m going to go and shoot around, just to get a feel. And then for the game-time, I’ll shoot around some more, see how it feels and take it from there.”
 
Healthy or not, Johnson being with the starting group is far from a given.
 
The 6-foot-9 veteran has consistently been the first starter subbed out and usually winds up playing the fewest minutes.
 
In Game 3, two of his backups – Kelly Olynyk (15 points) and Jonas Jerebko (10 points) – shined brightly.
 
Here are some other highlights from the Celtics’ morning shoot-around.
 
THOMAS UPDATE: Isaiah Thomas met with a hip specialist on Monday, according to Stevens. “Still collecting information,” said Stevens, adding, “We’ll wait and see or we’ll discuss second, and third, and fourth, and fifth opinions.”

Thomas injured his right hip March 15 and later re-aggravated it in the first half of the Game 2 loss Friday. Less than 24 hours later, he was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.
 
He was replaced by Marcus Smart in the starting lineup and Smart responded with a career-high 27 points in Game 3, which included seven made 3’s which is a career-best mark as well.
 
BOUNCE-BACK CELTICS: The Celtics winning Game 3 sent shockwaves throughout the league, especially coming on the heels of a 44-point home court drubbing at the hands of the Cavs. “If you’re in sports long enough you’re going to have clunkers,” Stevens said. “You’re going to have games that don’t go your way. And our guys took seriously the idea of responding and just playing the next possession as well as they could.”
 
ROZIER HOMECOMING: The second-year guard grew up in nearby Youngstown, Ohio (75 miles southeast of Cleveland), so you can expect he’ll have a decent contingent of fans at tonight's game.
 
While he’s all-in for the Celtics, the same is not true of his friends and some family members.
 
“My family does a good job of staying on my side except for my one younger cousin,” Rozier said. “She loves LeBron.”