Rondo takes blame for Celtics' loss

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Rondo takes blame for Celtics' loss

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

PHOENIX The Boston Celtics locker room had just about emptied out.

Rajon Rondo, as has been the case frequently this season, was the last player to leave.

And on a night when so many Celtics seemed to struggle in so many ways, Rondo was the first to place a good chunk of the blame for the team's latest setback squarely upon his shoulders.

There are plenty of areas to dissect if you're trying to figure out some type of rhyme or reason for Friday's 88-71 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Not controlling the game's tempo stands out.

So do Rondo's unusually high number of turnovers.

"It starts with me," he said. "I've had back-to-back six- and seven-turnover games."

In Boston's win at Portland, Rondo had six turnovers and five assists. On Friday, he had seven turnovers and six assists.

It was the first time this season Rondo had back-to-back games in which he had more turnovers than assists. In addition, it was also just the second time this season he has had back-to-back games with single digits in assists.

When it comes to turnovers, the Celtics are quick to give credit to their opponent's play defensively.

But too many of Rondo's miscues are unforced mistakes that have been few and far between this season.

"I can't worry about turnovers I don't cause," Rondo said. "It's me."

Of course, fatigue may have been at play as well.

Boston, one of the oldest teams in the NBA, were coming off a back-to-back game while the Suns came into Friday's game having not played since Wednesday.

It might not seem like that big a deal, but an extra day of rest to prepare for a veteran team that's already playing short-handed, can be a huge advantage.

"It may have been fatigue. It may have not. We just didn't have it tonight," Rondo said.

Paul Pierce, who never looked like himself on Friday, was clearly favoring a sore right thigh injury from the previous night at Portland.

Shaquille O'Neal had returned from a three-game absence, but he made no impact in part because of early foul trouble.

Kendrick Perkins was hampered with early foul trouble as well.

And Glen Davis, one of the top reserves in the NBA this season, did not play in the second half because of a right hamstring injury. He had two points while missing four of his five shots from the field.

There were plenty of places to go if you're looking for a logical explanation for what went wrong for the Celtics.

Rondo knows this.

But the solution, in his eyes, is staring him right in the face.

"I have to look myself in the mirror," Rondo said, "and try and correct it."

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

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All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

NEW ORLEANS – You don’t rack up triple doubles at a historically ridiculous rate the way Russell Westbrook does without being able to dish out an assist from time to time.

The biggest assist he made in the 66th annual NBA all-star didn’t make its way on to the stats sheet.

But it was historical in so many ways.

Westbrook’s advice to Anthony Davis on how to win the game’s MVP award was indeed taken to heart with Davis winning the award following the Western Conference’s 192-182 win over the East All-Stars.

Davis finished with a game-high 52 points, shattering the previous mark set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Davis won the MVP award after Westbrook had won it each of the two previous All-Star games.

Prior to the game, Davis said he did do a little lobbying among his fellow all-stars in the locker room.

“I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it.”

Following the game, Westbrook acknowledged that he did speak with Davis about how to win the MVP award.

When asked about what he said, Westbrook replied, “I’m not going to tell you, but he did a good job and got it done.”

Despite not winning the MVP award, Westbrook had a dominant game of his own as he tallied 41 points which was one point shy of the previous record.

But after the game, it was clear that he was more pleased with the performance of Davis.

“It was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s definitely always a great thing to do, especially here where he plays in front of his fans, his family. It’s a great experience and definitely happy for him.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the 66th annual NBA all-star game.

 

STARS

Anthony Davis

The hometown team’s best player delivered a scoring night for the ages, finishing with an All-Star record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. The previous record of 42 points was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Russell Westbrook

His All-Star reign as the game’s MVP came to an end after having won the award the previous two All-Star games. He finished with 41 points.

 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He was an above-the-rim monster, scoring 30 points primarily on a dozen dunks.

Kevin Durant

He was filling up the stat sheet in several categories for the West, finishing with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving

Arguably the best performer for the East, Irving had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

There were others who had a more prolific night shooting the ball, but Thomas’ impact off the bench was indeed felt. He led all East reserves with 20 points.

James Harden

The bearded one had a triple-double as well, although not the kind he would prefer. Along with scoring 12 points, and dishing out 12 assists, Harden also racked up a game-high 10 turnovers.

 

DUDS

None

There were some guys who didn’t do much statistically, but with this being such an exhibition-like event, putting too much stock in any player’s performance is a waste of time. They are among the top 24 or so players in the NBA. No amount of missed shots or turnovers will change that fact.