Rondo managing risk as Celtics near playoffs

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Rondo managing risk as Celtics near playoffs

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

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 CSNNE.com. 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

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

BOSTON – The New York Knicks have been in a massive funk of late, something the Boston Celtics had to know which, not surprisingly, would result in them playing with a heightened level of desperation.

That desperation left the Celtics a bit exasperated at the half which ended with a 10-2 run by New York that put them ahead 63-54 at the half.

After falling behind by as many as nine points in the second quarter, the Celtics rallied to within a single point (53-52) following a basket by Isaiah Thomas.

The second quarter was all-New York afterwards.

It was just a one-possession game (Boston led 34-31) for the Celtics going into the second quarter, which was exactly where Boston didn’t want to be against a Knicks team whose bench ranks among the NBA’s highest-scoring second units recently. In their last three games, the Knicks’ bench has averaged 43.0 points per game which according to hoopsstats.com, ranks sixth in the NBA during that span.

At the half, they had 33 points compared to just 12 for Boston’s backups.

Boston fell behind early 9-5, but the Celtics rallied following a time-out with a 15-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas.

The Celtics’ lead peaked at nine points on separate occasions in the first, but the Knicks closed out the first with a 12-6 spurt that cut Boston’s lead to 34-31 at the end of the first.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Derrick Rose

The former league MVP looked like his old self tonight instead of just old. He led the Knicks with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

The Knicks had great success inside the paint against all the Celtics minus Thomas who did much of his dirty work offensively on drives to the basket. At the half he had 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

 

STUDS

Willy Hernangomez

Boston had problems rebounding the ball, and Hernangomez was the main reason why. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds, three of which were offensive boards.

Jae Crowder

Dealing with Carmelo Anthony is enough to keep Crowder busy tonight. But he’s doing that at a high level in addition to providing a nice punch offensively with 14 points.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas

You may not know his name, but his game was pretty impressive in the first half. At the half, he had nine points.

 

DUDS

Al Horford

We’ve seen him air-ball a 3-pointer, miss a lay-up and strguggle to get any shots to go down tonight. At the half, he had three points while missing nine of his 10 shot attempts.

Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

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Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

BOSTON – Both New York and Boston will take to the floor tonight minus a starter courtesy of a sore Achilles injury.

For Celtics guard Avery Bradley, tonight will be the fifth time in the last six games that his right Achilles injury will keep him sidelined.

Meanwhile, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis will miss his fourth straight game with a sore left Achilles injury.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Porzingis’ absence tonight was established well before tip-off.

“I’d say I’m 90 percent ready; still not there yet,” Porzingis told reporters prior to the game. “But I’m getting closer … hopefully the next game or after the next game.”

As far as Bradley is concerned, he was a last-minute matter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about his roster earlier tonight, and indicated Tyler Zeller (sinus) and James Young (ankle) would be on the inactive list tonight with injuries.

Without Bradley, the Celtics are expected to start Marcus Smart who has filled in as the team’s starter previously when the 6-foot-2 Bradley was unavailable.

 Bradley is the Celtics' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game this season, along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists.