Rivers urges Rondo to get to the free-throw line


Rivers urges Rondo to get to the free-throw line

By A.Sherrod Blakely

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Throughout his time as the Boston Celtics head coach, Doc Rivers has looked for different ways to challenge his precocious point guard, Rajon Rondo.

Become a better shooter. Make better decisions. Be more of a leader.

Rondo has shown progress in all those areas.

It remains to be seen if the same will hold true now that Rivers has added increased free-throw attempts to goals he has for Rondo.

Still, there's no doubt that for the C's to continue to improve, Rondo getting to the line more can only help.

"It's night and day. When he's attacking and making things happen, and playing at a high level he's used to playing at, the sky's the limit for this team," said Kendrick Perkins.

And adding free throws to his already impressive repertoire of offensive skills only makes him and the C's better moving forward.

On Tuesday, Rondo was indeed in attack mode from the opening tip.

A 51.2 percent free-throw shooter this season, Rondo made all three of his attempts against the Kings and has nailed eight of his last nine over the course of three games.

"We're staying on him; I'm trying to get him to get to the free-throw line as much as possible," Rivers said. "Just keep driving, keep attacking."

Rivers has challenged him to get 10 free-throw attempts per game.

While he knows that is highly unlikely to happen, that's not the point.

Rondo getting to the free-throw line more (he only has 67 attempts, which ranks sixth on the team) not only gives him more opportunities to score, but it also means opponents will see a set defense more often.

And as the Celtics get deeper into this season, they will need to continue to improve, Rondo included.

"The second half of the year, that's really important for him; just see how many times he can get to the free-throw line," Rivers said. "It'll be great for his confidence, great for our team's confidence. And we known when the playoffs start, that's going to be something that he'll have to do."

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

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit


Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step


How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”