Rondo takes blame for Celtics' loss


Rondo takes blame for Celtics' loss

By A. Sherrod Blakely

PHOENIX The Boston Celtics locker room had just about emptied out.

Rajon Rondo, as has been the case frequently this season, was the last player to leave.

And on a night when so many Celtics seemed to struggle in so many ways, Rondo was the first to place a good chunk of the blame for the team's latest setback squarely upon his shoulders.

There are plenty of areas to dissect if you're trying to figure out some type of rhyme or reason for Friday's 88-71 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Not controlling the game's tempo stands out.

So do Rondo's unusually high number of turnovers.

"It starts with me," he said. "I've had back-to-back six- and seven-turnover games."

In Boston's win at Portland, Rondo had six turnovers and five assists. On Friday, he had seven turnovers and six assists.

It was the first time this season Rondo had back-to-back games in which he had more turnovers than assists. In addition, it was also just the second time this season he has had back-to-back games with single digits in assists.

When it comes to turnovers, the Celtics are quick to give credit to their opponent's play defensively.

But too many of Rondo's miscues are unforced mistakes that have been few and far between this season.

"I can't worry about turnovers I don't cause," Rondo said. "It's me."

Of course, fatigue may have been at play as well.

Boston, one of the oldest teams in the NBA, were coming off a back-to-back game while the Suns came into Friday's game having not played since Wednesday.

It might not seem like that big a deal, but an extra day of rest to prepare for a veteran team that's already playing short-handed, can be a huge advantage.

"It may have been fatigue. It may have not. We just didn't have it tonight," Rondo said.

Paul Pierce, who never looked like himself on Friday, was clearly favoring a sore right thigh injury from the previous night at Portland.

Shaquille O'Neal had returned from a three-game absence, but he made no impact in part because of early foul trouble.

Kendrick Perkins was hampered with early foul trouble as well.

And Glen Davis, one of the top reserves in the NBA this season, did not play in the second half because of a right hamstring injury. He had two points while missing four of his five shots from the field.

There were plenty of places to go if you're looking for a logical explanation for what went wrong for the Celtics.

Rondo knows this.

But the solution, in his eyes, is staring him right in the face.

"I have to look myself in the mirror," Rondo said, "and try and correct it."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics made one more roster move on Friday, but not the one many were anticipating.

Instead of trimming the training camp roster down to 15 players, the Celtics expanded it by signing Ryan Kelly.

The 6-foot-11 forward appeared in six games for the Atlanta Hawks during the preseason, averaging 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

A former second round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013, Kelly has appeared in 147 games with career averages of 6.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Boston already has a stacked roster at the power forward/center position, which is why they decided to waive second round pick and former Providence College star Ben Bentil earlier on Friday.

The addition of Kelly, on the surface at least, doesn't make a lot of sense.

But the Celtics are trying to build a team for the present while keeping an eye on the future.

When the Celtics waived Bentil, they did so with the knowledge that he was unlikely to sign with their Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

But with Kelly, the veteran big man will likely wind up with the Red Claws which will allow the Celtics to get a closer look at him without impacting their roster status which is currently at 16, one above the league-maximum.

The final roster spot will come down to James Young and R.J. Hunter. The Celtics have until 5 p.m. Monday to make a decision, a decision that team officials have repeatedly said in recent days will come down to the wire.