Rivers on Rondo's struggles: 'He's human'


Rivers on Rondo's struggles: 'He's human'

By A.Sherrod Blakely

NEWARK, N.J. Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't quite ready to say Rajon Rondo is in a slump.

"He's not playing great right now, but I don't think he's slumping," Rivers said.

Whatever you call it, one thing is clear: Rondo is not playing Rondo-esque basketball.

And the Celtics are worse off for it.

The latest rough outing for Rondo and the C's came in Monday's 88-79 loss to the New Jersey Nets.

It was the Celtics' third loss in their last four games, and dropped them into a tie with Chicago (47-18) for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

A number of Celtics players struggled in the Nets loss, but Rondo's woes stood out.

On Monday, he had two points while missing 9 of his 10 shots from the field. He also had nine assists, which marked the fifth straight game he failed to tally double-digit assists -- the longest such stretch for him this season. During that stretch, he's shooting 17-for-50, or 34 percent, from the field.

"I'm getting good looks. I'm getting shots, I'm getting floaters. I'm getting lay-ups. I'm just missing right now," Rondo said. "It's not mental. I'm just missing."

And when he's not making plays, the Celtics as a team tend to struggle.

"It's tough because he's the guy that makes us go," said Glen Davis, who had his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds. "He's the guy that makes us play the way we need to play. He didn't have a good game tonight. That's just how it is."

Despite Rondo's struggles of late, no one seems overly concerned.

"He's human," Rivers said. "He's going to go through stretches just like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. They've all gone through stretches."

Added Garnett: "There are nights when he's quadruple-doubled or whatever. Some nights, you have nights like this. It's all about how you come back from that."

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

Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown


Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown

Jaylen Brown made a costly turnover in the final minute that contributed to Boston’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The fact that he was even in the game at that point speaks to not just his potential, but the level of confidence the rookie has already garnered from the Boston Celtics coaching staff.

Brown, who had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting on Thursday, turned the ball over with less than a minute to play and the Celtics trailing 101-99 at the time.

Moments after the turnover, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade drained a step-back 3-pointer that sealed the Bulls’ victory.

Disappointed with the game’s outcome, Brown acknowledged that it meant a lot to him for Stevens to have enough confidence in him to keep him on the floor down the stretch.

But with that faith comes added pressure for Brown to come through and deliver.

“It means I have to do better and try and execute for my team and earn everything I get,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m the number three pick in the draft.”

Stevens was asked about having Brown on the floor in the game’s closing seconds.

“He (Brown) was playing pretty well and I thought we were better off playing small,” Stevens said. “I wanted to keep Jaylen in there. I thought he did a lot of good things tonight.”

“Obviously that play didn’t go his way,” Stevens said.

On the play in question, Brown was matched up with Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic. Brown began to make a move, and eventually spun away from Mirotic and left his feet.

Brown was called for the turnover when he left his feet to make a pass, but didn’t release the ball until after he had landed – a traveling violation.

“I was looking for an outlet,” said Brown in explaining his late-game miscue. “I should have just shot the ball but I was thinking it was a bad shot. I probably should have just shot it. I just saw Mirotic on me, slower feet. Coach (Stevens) told me to drive him so I tried to be aggressive. I should have made a play.”

Brown added, “Just have to come out and execute, and play the game the right way. I want to make coach feel like he has a reason to put me out on the floor.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Dwyane Wade

The Chicago native gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about on Thursday. In his first game playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Wade had 22 points which included a back-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that pretty much sealed the Bulls victory. Consider this: He made a total of seven 3-pointers all last season. He had four on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas

For the second straight game, Thomas tallied 25 points and continued to shoot the ball extremely well. His 25 points on Thursday came on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had four assists and three rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

Butler was among the Chicago players who shot the ball much, much better from 3-point range than they usually do. He finished with a team-high 24 points which included him knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts.



Avery Bradley

Bradley provided a nice offensive complement to Thomas’ high scoring night, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Bradley also made his presence felt on the boards and as a distributor with six rebounds and five assists.

Nikola Mirotic

He may have lost out on a starting job to Taj Gibson, but Mirotic’s value to the Bulls is clear. Mirotic had 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in addition to nine rebounds.



Second-chance points

Boston’s only two games into the season, but second-chance points looks to be an issue with no clear-cut solution. For the second straight game, Boston was outscored by double digits in second-chance points. On Thursday, Chicago had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.