OFFSEASON

Rondo plays well in surprise return

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Rondo plays well in surprise return

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

INDIANAPOLIS Celtics coach Doc Rivers had his mind made up.

Rajon Rondo was not going to play against the Indiana Pacers.

Missing a second straight game, Rivers reasoned, would give his point guard plenty of time for his banged-up pinkie finger to heal some before the Celtics play at San Antonio on Thursday.

But between the time Rivers told the media that Rondo was out, and the actual game ball being tossed up, things changed and Rondo went from spectator to his usual spot as the Celtics starting point guard.

And while the Celtics lost 107-100, Rondo's return was solid.

He finished with 22 points to go with 8 assists, and showed little to no signs of needing to work his way back into being an effective player for the C's.

It wasn't so much that he was scoring, but rather the way he was getting his points that was similar to how he scored at the start of the season, when he was among the top players in the NBA.

"That's the way he has to play every night," Rivers said. "He attacked. His speed was a factor. We haven't seen that in a while. That's terrific. It's amazing when he does that, what it does to our offense. We're really good."

Rondo said he wasn't sure if the day off helped him have fresher legs against Indiana, but it did allow him to make a greater impact as a scorer.

"I just think I moved better without the ball," Rondo said. "Guys found me."

Rivers said the decision to change course and play Rondo was made after Rondo came to him prior to the game, and said he felt good enough to play.

After consulting with team trainer Ed Lacerte, Rivers had heard enough to believe that Rondo could, in fact, return to action.

Rondo's argument to Rivers was that while recognizing Rivers' desire to sit him, Rondo didn't see any benefit in him sitting out another game because whether he returned on Monday or later this week against San Antonio, if he got hit on the pinkie a certain way it was going to hurt.

"He's right," Rivers said. "I told him to bring Eddie Lacerte in, and Eddie agreed. Once he agreed, I was good."

And while Rondo's play was good, it wasn't good enough to win.

Like most of his teammates, Rondo is getting sick and tired of the disappointment that comes with coming up short against teams that aren't as talented.

When asked about his level of frustration, Rondo said, "It's frustrating just losing."

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

OFFSEASON

Who will make the Celtics roster?

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Who will make the Celtics roster?

BOSTON – Regardless of what the Celtics do in the offseason, there will always be position battles in training camp.

But when the players arrive in a few weeks, a handful will have more at stake than just a roster spot.

Boston currently has 18 players with full or partially guaranteed contracts, a number that has to be pared down to 15 or less by the time the regular season begins.

The math is pretty cut and dry. Barring a trade, at least three players have to be let go.

But who will they be?

That’s for Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics brass to figure out.

In the meantime, here’s a look at five Celtics who, barring a trade, are likely to be among the pool of players Boston will be picking from for what should be the last couple of roster spots.

OFFSEASON

Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

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Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

New England fans will get their first glimpse at the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics when they kick off their preseason schedule on October 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.

That game will feature two of the top three picks in last month’s draft as Ben Simmons, the top overall pick, will face Jaylen Brown, who was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.

Boston’s 7-game schedule features no back-to-back games, but they do face the Charlotte Hornets in their second and third preseason games on Oct. 6 (in Greensboro, N.C.) and Oct. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Here’s a look at Boston’s full preseason schedule:

DATE               OPPONENT                  LOCATION                                                        TIME
Oct. 4               Philadelphia 76ers         UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA)     7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 6               Charlotte Hornets          Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8               Charlotte Hornets          Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT)                  3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13             Brooklyn Nets               Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)                          7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 15             New York Knicks           Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 17             Brooklyn Nets               TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 19             New York Knicks           TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET