Friday FT's: Rondo playing ball, going back to school?

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Friday FT's: Rondo playing ball, going back to school?

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that may not have made the headlines but are still worth a read.

Want to see Rajon Rondo play basketball this summer?

Now Celtics fans can, thanks to University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari.

Calipari announced on Twitter the Dominican National Team will play against the Kentucky Pro Team on August 15 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY.

The Kentucky squad will feature eight former Wildcats currently in the NBA: Rondo,
John Wall, Tayshaun Prince, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Jodie Meeks, Nazr Mohammed, and Keith Bogans. They will be coached by Sam Bowie and Joe B. Hall.

The Dominican team, coached by Calipari himself, will have 12 players, including Al Horford, Francisco Garcia, and Charlie Villanueva.

According to Ticketmaster, tickets will go on sale Friday morning. Calipari also tweeted, Last thing. I will tweet the pre-sale passcode for tickets to the Dominican National Team exhibition game on Friday morning at 8 am ET."

And if youre worried about Rondos elbow, he looked pretty comfortable bending it earlier this week.

Rondo could be hitting the books this fall if he isnt hitting the court for the Celtics. On Thursday night Calipari tweeted:

I've heard from a few players that plan to enroll in school for the fall semester & also I'll tell u about my Friday special treat.

John Wall (@jimmywa11), Rajon Rondo (@rajonrondo) & Eric Bledsoe (@ebled24) all plan to enroll in the fall if the lockout continues. Kaboom!

Delonte West in Like a Lion
What do you get Delonte West for his 28th birthday? A lion cake, of course.

The crew at SLAM wrote: When one of Delonte Wests teammates celebrates their born day, he usually designs them a custom cake. So its fitting that today, on his 28th birthday, Wests family surprised him with a personalized cake from Creative Cakes Inc.

Click through the slideshow to check out Wests birthday cake.

Before West celebrated his birthday on Tuesday, he released a video of two songs from his upcoming debut mixtape, Lockout. SLAM had the preview of Its Bout 2 Go Down and Mr. Magnificent.

Shaqs Top Ten

There is always something interesting to find on Shaquille O'Neal's Twitter page, and this week he linked to "Shaq's Celebrity Top Ten Playlist" on YouTube. O'Neal, or rather his own mini-me, previewed his ten favorite videos, ranging from career highlights to pranks caught on tape to moments from his comedy shows. Always the entertainer, he leaves viewers with an extra performance at the end.

Celtics Tweet of the Week
@JaJuanJohnson: "HustleHard"

Birthdays of the Week

Gary Payton, who donned number 20 for the Celtics in the 2004-05 season, turned 43 on July 23 former Celtic-turned-Laker Rick Fox celebrated his 42 on July 24 Nenad Krstic, one of the first NBA players to sign overseas this summer, turned 28 on July 25 Delonte West, the recipient of the unique birthday cake noted above, turned 28 on July 26 Former Celtic Semih Erden, who was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, turned 25 on Thursday.
This Week in NBA History

On July 27, 1993, Reggie Lewis passed away at 27 years old. The Celtics selected Lewis out of Northeastern University with the 22nd overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. He averaged 17.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in six seasons with the Celtics. Dime Magazine compiled a series of commemorative videos looking back on Lewis career.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.