Blakely: Rondo's game is hurting

191544.jpg

Blakely: Rondo's game is hurting

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

HOUSTON Rajon Rondo is hurting right now, but it's not the kind of pain you expect.

It's his game, not his body, that's sorely in need of getting healthy.

Friday's 93-77 loss to the Houston Rockets was yet another night when Rondo was among the Celtics players to deliver subpar performances.

He had four points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field. Rondo had just six assists. It was the seventh straight game Rondo failed to register double-digit assists, a first for him this season. Prior to this, Rondo had not gone more than two games without tallying double-digit assist numbers.

When you combine his assists numbers being down of late with some poor shooting (Rondo has shot just 30 percent in those seven games), it's hard not to harp on Rondo's woes.

Why?

Because he has the ball in his hands more than any other player. Because he's missing shots that he normally makes.

And defensively, point guards - the good and not-so-good - have been scoring in every way imaginable against him recently.

On Friday night, Kyle Lowry took turns lighting up him and Ray Allen before finishing with 20 points and nine assists. Indiana's Darren Collison had 10 points and nine assists in a Celtics win over the Pacers on Wednesday.

So with Rondo delivering a string of un-Rondo-like performances, he was asked on Friday night if there were any physical issues that were impacting his play on the floor.

"No, I don't think so," he said when asked. "Everybody is asking, but I'm fine."

When told that it was teammate Kevin Garnett who told reporters after the Indiana win that he was "hurting," Rondo said, "it's an 82-game season. Nothing is too serious. We all have aches and pains, but I don't think it's nothing that will keep me out from playing. I'm just not performing well."

Rondo has watched himself on video, just to get another perspective on what he may need to do in order to get his back on track.

The problem, he says, is obvious.

"It's missing shots," he said. "I try not to focus on offense, but that's probably the biggest thing that sticks out. For me, I haven't made my shots lately; shots or lay-ups. I'll continue to shoot them, and eventually I'll get through it."

As Rondo continues to struggle, Celtics coach Doc Rivers remains steadfast in his belief that Rondo is merely not playing as well as he usually does.

"I don't see that," Rivers said. "I know that you guys see that or something. I don't know what you guys see, but I don't see that. He's human. He hasn't played well. I think it's that simple."

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

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

MORE:

Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”