Rondo ups his game after Daniels injury

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Rondo ups his game after Daniels injury

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Rajon Rondo knelt on the court, eyes fixated on his teammate.

Just a few feet away, Marquis Daniels lay on the parquet, having suffered a bruised spinal cord after colliding with Gilbert Arenas.

As other members of the team stepped away, Rondo stayed there until Daniels was lifted up in a stretcher.

I was wishing him the best, Rondo said following the Boston Celtics 91-80 win over the Orlando Magic. Hopefully nothing was really wrong with him.

While Daniels was taken to New England Baptist Hospital, Rondo and the Celtics retreated to the bench to regroup, down 24-17 with just over 11 minutes to go in the second quarter. At the time, Rondo had six points (2-for-4 FG) and no assists.

Thoughts of Daniels stayed with him. And he attacked.

Its crazy, its sad to say you have to wait for something like this to happen to get a boost, but its just how it is, he said.

By halftime Rondo had 13 points and three dimes. He led all players with 11 points in the third quarter, and finished the game with season-highs in points (26) and free throws made (7). He also added seven assists.

I thought Rondo took the third over, said Kevin Garnett. I thought after the Quis situation went on, I thought we started to get a lot more aggressive. Second half, Rondo controlled the game, controlled the tempo, and I thought he and Paul Pierce were aggressive early on and we just fed off that.

Rondo found himself open as the Magic focused their defense on Pierce and Ray Allen. The pass-first point guard decided to take advantage of the looks.

He began shooting the ball, and even when he missed, he kept at it (9-for-15 FG).

I still missed a lot of shots. All my misses were pretty much jump shots, he said. I just kept taking them. I think I missed my first two. They felt good but I had been shooting a lot more jump shots lately. Im going to continue to shoot them. Tonight the lane opened up more, even though Dwight Howard was down there.

More opportunities presented themselves for Rondo to score when Jameer Nelson fell into foul trouble. Knowing that the Magic had to be cautious on defense, the Celtics urged Rondo to be aggressive.

Doc Rivers went with an open spread, which created more opportunities for Rondo to score. Even though the Celtics dont use that strategy every game, Rivers was pleased to see Rondo take his shots when they did.

Whenever he does go to the basket, we want him to go with power and speed and be willing to get fouled, said Rivers. I thought over everything that was it. Obviously he made great shots and all that. I just liked the fact that he had no problem if he got fouled.

In the end, Rondo chalked up his performance to just playing basketball. But there was more to this game than simply Xs and Os.

I did notice a big change in Rondo after Daniels was injured, Kendrick Perkins told CSNNE.com. He came to play today. He was aggressive. I told Doc after the game, Shoot, Rondo really changed the game.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

Crowder on Wizards' all-black 'funeral' plans for Celtics: 'That's cute!'

The Washington Wizards plan to roll into tonight’s game against the Celtics donning all-black clothes, as in a funeral procession, a sign of solidarity and an omen of sorts for a game that they hope ends with them burying the Celtics.
 
When Jae Crowder was asked about the Wizards all-black gear, his initial response...“That’s cute!”
 
More than anything, the Wizards (24-20) are putting a significant amount of value into tonight’s game. A victory would extend their home winning streak to 14.

Meanwhile, the Celtics (26-17) come in looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
 
“This is definitely not Game 7 or the playoffs,” said Isaiah Thomas. “But if they want to take it that serious, they can.”
 
The idea to arrive at the Verizon Center donning all-black was hatched by Bradley Beal, who has some contentious moments, to say the least, with the Celtics recently.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows all about the funeral talk which to him is just that, talk. He’s more concerned with his team doing what they need to do in order to win.
 
Nothing more.
 
Nothing less.
 
“At the end of the day, good basketball teams are physical,” he said. “There’s a line you don’t want to cross. Ultimately, you have to be appropriately physical at a high level. It’s about playing well, focus on your next task at hand. This is a great opportunity to see where we’re at.”

In the Celtics' 117-108 win over the Wizards on Jan. 11, Beal was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after getting into it with Marcus Smart.
 
Last season, Beal was on the receiving end of a left forearm to the face from Smart, who was driving to the basket at the time. The blow resulted in a broken nose for Beal in addition to spending time in the league’s concussion protocol program.
 
And then there’s his backcourt mate John Wall.
 
He was fined $15,000 for his role in a postgame incident with Jae Crowder (who was fined $25,000). Crowder pushed Wall’s nose with his finger, which led to Wall retaliating with a slap towards Crowder’s face.
 
And when the two met back on Nov. 9, Wall was hit with a flagrant-2 foul (an automatic ejection) when he threw Smart down hard to floor in the final moments of a Wizards win.
 
The Celtics have a few games that have become more physical than others recently, but there’s something about this Celtics-Wizards matchup that brings out an elevated level of feistiness.
 
“It’s just all talk; that’s all it is,” Thomas said. “I guess they taking it and running with it. I don’t know what it is. I [saw] the funeral and the all-black thing last night and I just laughed about it. We’ll be there tonight for a game, not a funeral.”
 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

WATCH: Celtics vs. Wizards

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