Notes: Rondo thrives against first place Spurs

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Notes: Rondo thrives against first place Spurs

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Rajon Rondo is a big fan of winning. It doesnt matter if the opposing team is 30-0 or 0-30, victory is always the ultimate goal.

But there is a little something extra to a game against a contender like the San Antonio Spurs. On Wednesday, Rondo made sure to bring something extra, too.

He recorded a triple-double (12 points, 22 assists, 10 rebounds) against one of the top point guards in the league. He just couldnt help it.

I like to compete, Rondo said following the Celtics 105-103 win. I've got to respect every opponent, but it's just human nature. I think I get up for some of the best guys that we play against - Tony Parker, D. Rose. I think it's just human nature. But for me, I'm really competitive.

Ray Allen has made over 2,500 three-pointers in the career, but there are still the eyebrow-raising moments when teams leave him open behind the arc.

When the Spurs failed to defend him in the fourth quarter, he buried an open trey to give the Celtics a 101-96 lead with 1:37 to go.

Allen is still surprised to find himself open after thousands of buckets.

Im always surprised any time I get open, especially for 3, he said. But one thing I learned about basketball a long time ago is if I can be in better shape than the guy thats guarding me, then the team will have problems because then somebody else is going to have to help and that means either the point guard or our big men are going to be wide open. For me to run as hard as I can and get to my spots, somebodys going to be open. And a lot of times its not me, but there are those few occasions I do get open and Ive got to be ready to take a shot.

Allen is averaging 43.8 percent from three-point range this season.

< The Celtics knew they were in for a challenge when the league-leading Spurs came to town. There was no doubt it would be a grind-out battle, but the Celtics wouldnt let themselves dwell on the Spurs record.

After the Cs pulled out a two-point victory, the Spurs werent dwelling on their own 29-win record either. The Celtics handed them their second straight loss.

Were very hard on ourselves, said Tim Duncan (18 points, 8-15 FG, 5 rebounds). Were not satisfied with where we are and honestly, I dont really care what our record is. Its how were playing through stretches. Were going to hang our hat in the last two losses and the kind of defense were playing, so were definitely not satisfied with what we have right now.

Glen Davis likes that Doc Rivers holds him accountable. That, along with the birth of his daughter, has helped him develop an increased sense of responsibility and a strong work ethic.

The two have a special relationship . . . one that Davis smiled about.

For sure father-son, he said, pausing before laughing, But like stepson.

All kidding aside, he appreciates the way Rivers pushes him to become a better player.

Hes worked with me, giving me opportunities to show what Ive got within the team, he said. But hes still hard on me. Hes still hard. Its like a love-hate - its like you love it but youre like, Oh my gosh, pipe it down sometimes!

Davis laughed again, knowing the tough love has paid off.

The Celtics have launched the Celtics Banner Moments program, an interactive program that allows fans to share their favorite moments in team history through video, photos, and text. The program will run through March and fans have the opportunity to win prizes including meet-and-greets with Celtics legends, game tickets, and more. One winner will be recognized at Fan Appreciation Night in April and will also win the chance to watch a playoff game in a private suite. Visit www.celtics.commoments for more information.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.