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

Stars, studs, duds: Jae Crowder scores game-high 6 3-pointers

Stars, studs, duds: Jae Crowder scores game-high 6 3-pointers

BOSTON – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 123-111 Game 1 win over the Washington Wizards in their best-of-seven series. 

STARS

Isaiah Thomas: To be effective with all that he’s dealing with from an emotional standpoint continues to amaze us all. Thomas, just 24 hours removed from his younger sister’s funeral, delivered yet another gem of a game with 33 points on 11-for-23 shooting with nine assists with just two turnovers.

John Wall: Showing he’s more than just a guard with speed who can score, Wall finished with a double-double of 20 points on 9-for-20 shooting, to go with a game-high 16 assists.

STUDS

Jae Crowder: The Celtics needed a solid complimentary scorer to Isaiah Thomas, and Crowder was that dude during a critical third quarter stretch for Boston. He finished with a playoff career-high 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting with six rebounds. 

Bradley Beal: Half of one of the NBA’s best backcourts, Beal showed a much-improved postseason perimeter game. Having shot less than 30 percent on 3’s in Washington’s first-round series with Atlanta, Beal was 4-for-7 from long range which was part of his team high 27 -point game. 

Al Horford: Once again Horford flirted with a triple-double, scoring 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting, to go with 10 assists and nine rebounds with a blocked shot.  

Otto Porter Jr.: He was one of the few players for the Wizards whose plus/minus in Game 1 was positive (+3). He had 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and two steals. 

Avery Bradley: The numbers don’t always tell the story when it comes to Bradley’s impact. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in Game 1, but he still managed to score 18 points on 7-for-20 shooting, in addition to grabbing five rebounds with four assists and four steals.

Kelly Oubre Jr.: He was a major factor in Washington’s fast start and with Markieff Morris’ knee injury, he may wind up starting Game 2. He finished with 12 points off the bench, shooting 5-for-8 from the field.

DUDS

Gerald Green: The Celtics remain undefeated with Green in the starting lineup, but his impact on Game 1 was nowhere to be found. He played just seven minutes without taking a single shot from the field. The only stat he registered was a turnover while his plus/minus on the floor was -13.

Isaiah Thomas scores 33 as Celtics beat Wizards in Game 1

Isaiah Thomas scores 33 as Celtics beat Wizards in Game 1

BOSTON – Two weeks ago, Isaiah Thomas was less than 24 hours removed from the death of his baby sister, Chyna Thomas. 

He played well, but it wasn’t enough to get the win because he got very little help from his teammates. 

Call it a lesson learned. 

Because 24 hours after attending the funeral of his sister in Tacoma, Washington, Thomas delivered yet another 33-point performance – just like he did in Game 1 against Chicago. 

But there was a difference on Sunday – he got some help this time. 

Thomas’ scoring coupled with a pair of teammates also cracking the 20-point plateau – Jae Crowder and Al Horford – was enough to propel Boston to a hard fought 123-111 Game 1 win over the Washington Wizards. 

Game 2 in this best-of-seven series will be Tuesday night at the TD Garden. 

This game, like most of the four regular season battles with Washington, was not easy to come by even when the Celtics seemingly had the game under control in the second half. 

After a red-hot third quarter that propelled Boston to a 15-point lead, the Celtics cooled off considerably to start the fourth. 

That’s all the Wizards needed as they opened the quarter with a 9-0 run, similar to how they began the game.  

Boston’s first points of the fourth didn’t come until Thomas made a short floater with just under eight minutes to play. 

Washington showed tremendous fight in trying to get back in the game, while the Celtics did what they needed to do in order to keep a healthy distance score-wise between themselves and the Wizards.

Indeed, the Celtics had fought too hard and for too long to blow this game. 

The Celtics didn’t take their first lead until a Crowder 3-pointer put Boston ahead 73-71 with just under seven minutes to play in the third quarter. He finished with a playoff career-high 24 points and six rebounds.

Washington soon tied it up, only for Crowder to strike again with another 3-pointer that made it a 76-73 game. 

The Celtics continued to surge ahead.

After a Marcus Smart steal, Avery Bradley moments later drained a wide open 3-pointer to give Boston an 81-74 lead to cap off a 13-3 run by the Celtics which led to a Wizards time-out with 4:45 to play in the quarter. 

Boston continued to pull away, ending the third with a 27-9 run which gave them a 95-80 lead going into the fourth quarter. 

The Wizards didn’t just come out hitting to start the game; they were absolutely smacking the Celtics around something silly as they opened the game with a 16-0 run and led by as many as 17 points in the first quarter. 

Marcin Gortat, who had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, did most of the damage early on. But as the game progressed, Washington’s John Wall (20 points, 16 assists) and Bradley Beal (27 points, four assists) put their imprint on the game as well.

Thomas got the Celtics on the scoreboard after being fouled on a three-point attempt. He would give Boston its first points of the game, making all three free throws with 8:04 to play in the quarter. 

The Celtics spent the rest of the first quarter facing a double-digit deficit which stood at 38-24 at the end of the first. 

Boston opened the second quarter with a 7-2 run which led to Wizards coach Scott Brooks calling a time-out with 10:27 to play in the half with Boston now trailing 40-31. 

The Celtics surge continued with the eventually tying the game up at 42-all after a Crowder 3-pointer. 

Washington regained the lead, but a 3-point play by Avery Bradley tied the game up again at 49-all.

Boston continued to hang close in the first half, which gave them the confidence to surge ahead in the second for the victory.