Rondo managing risk as Celtics near playoffs


Rondo managing risk as Celtics near playoffs

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo likes taking risks.

For every one that hasnt paid off, there are many more that have.

My whole life Ive taken chances, he told Right now, Im pretty successful. So far, so good.

Rondo takes the same approach in basketball, especially when it comes to dishing the ball.

Instead of settling for an easy look, he would rather pull off a play that leaves fans -- and his opponents -- wondering what just happened.

Rondo has compiled an entire careers worth of jaw-dropping passes over the last five years. At the same time, many of those moves that didnt go as plans have resulted in turnovers.

As the Celtics near the playoffs, Rondo wants to limit those errors.

Easier said than done, though, for the feisty point guard who thrives on a challenge.

Im just trying to keep my turnovers down and continue to run this show, he said following his 16-point, 13-assist performance in the Celtics' 99-82 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. I guess I have to make the simple pass, but at the same time, Im a risk taker. I try to make plays for my teammates, whether its a behind-the-back pass or whether its a regular bounce pass. Any way I can get it out there, thats the best way is what I do.

Rondo is averaging a career-high 3.5 turnovers per game this season, tied for fifth with Derrick Rose among all point guards. Last season he averaged 3.0.

He attributes the increase in turnovers to the changes in his offensive game. He has expanded the range of his jumper and is no longer reserved to driving the lane.

With these new shot options comes a new mindset -- he doesnt always have to pass it off.

I think what I get caught up in is if I have a shot and I try to force a pass when I should just take the shot, he said. So obviously Ive gotten up a lot more FTAs in the last couple of games, so I think thats why.

Rondo will take the good with the bad, pointing out that even though his turnovers are up, so are his assists. He ranks second in the league with 11.3 per contest and recorded his 43rd game with 10 or more assists on Tuesday night.

Give-and-take a little bit, he said. Im having the ball in my hands a lot. If we take care of the ball, I think weve got a great chance of winning.

Thats the result Rondo is used to seeing after taking risks, anyways.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Celtics bench hurting with Smart out


Celtics bench hurting with Smart out

The Boston Celtics don’t reveal a ton about what happens behind their closed-door practices, but there were a couple of significant narratives that developed in the preseason.

Chief among them was the development of the bench which on many occasions, outplayed the starters.

Leading the second team surge on many days in the preseason was Marcus Smart, whose absence during the first two games of the season has been obvious.

Smart suffered a left ankle sprain injury in the Celtics’ final preseason game, an injury that reported at the time would sideline him for a couple of weeks.

A few days later, Smart confirmed the report by indicating he would be out of action for two weeks from the time of the injury.

That puts his return to the floor being Nov. 3 at Cleveland which would mean he would be missing the first four games of the season.

One of the reasons why the second unit had so much success against the starters, was the rhythm they developed playing with and off one another.

Trying to re-establish that on the fly without Smart has proven to be challenging at times for Boston’s second unit.

In the season-opening win over Brooklyn, Boston’s second unit was called upon to simply hold down a lead in the fourth quarter that peaked at 23. But the lead steadily shrunk and head coach Brad Stevens was forced to bring his starters back into the game.

And last night at Chicago, the second unit was never able to deliver the kind of impact-making plays that Boston’s backups can do.

But it goes beyond what Smart can do on the floor when he plays. Like most of his teammates, Smart’s presence has a way of allowing his other teammates to get into a rhythm and get accustomed to whatever role they are asked to play.

Without him, everyone’s job shifts just a little bit.

“They’re trying to figure it out on the fly,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “They had a few practices, maybe one tough day of practice without him; it’s tough. They’re trying to figure it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in the game.”