Rondo ups his game after Daniels injury

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Rondo ups his game after Daniels injury

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Rajon Rondo knelt on the court, eyes fixated on his teammate.

Just a few feet away, Marquis Daniels lay on the parquet, having suffered a bruised spinal cord after colliding with Gilbert Arenas.

As other members of the team stepped away, Rondo stayed there until Daniels was lifted up in a stretcher.

I was wishing him the best, Rondo said following the Boston Celtics 91-80 win over the Orlando Magic. Hopefully nothing was really wrong with him.

While Daniels was taken to New England Baptist Hospital, Rondo and the Celtics retreated to the bench to regroup, down 24-17 with just over 11 minutes to go in the second quarter. At the time, Rondo had six points (2-for-4 FG) and no assists.

Thoughts of Daniels stayed with him. And he attacked.

Its crazy, its sad to say you have to wait for something like this to happen to get a boost, but its just how it is, he said.

By halftime Rondo had 13 points and three dimes. He led all players with 11 points in the third quarter, and finished the game with season-highs in points (26) and free throws made (7). He also added seven assists.

I thought Rondo took the third over, said Kevin Garnett. I thought after the Quis situation went on, I thought we started to get a lot more aggressive. Second half, Rondo controlled the game, controlled the tempo, and I thought he and Paul Pierce were aggressive early on and we just fed off that.

Rondo found himself open as the Magic focused their defense on Pierce and Ray Allen. The pass-first point guard decided to take advantage of the looks.

He began shooting the ball, and even when he missed, he kept at it (9-for-15 FG).

I still missed a lot of shots. All my misses were pretty much jump shots, he said. I just kept taking them. I think I missed my first two. They felt good but I had been shooting a lot more jump shots lately. Im going to continue to shoot them. Tonight the lane opened up more, even though Dwight Howard was down there.

More opportunities presented themselves for Rondo to score when Jameer Nelson fell into foul trouble. Knowing that the Magic had to be cautious on defense, the Celtics urged Rondo to be aggressive.

Doc Rivers went with an open spread, which created more opportunities for Rondo to score. Even though the Celtics dont use that strategy every game, Rivers was pleased to see Rondo take his shots when they did.

Whenever he does go to the basket, we want him to go with power and speed and be willing to get fouled, said Rivers. I thought over everything that was it. Obviously he made great shots and all that. I just liked the fact that he had no problem if he got fouled.

In the end, Rondo chalked up his performance to just playing basketball. But there was more to this game than simply Xs and Os.

I did notice a big change in Rondo after Daniels was injured, Kendrick Perkins told CSNNE.com. He came to play today. He was aggressive. I told Doc after the game, Shoot, Rondo really changed the game.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Blakely's five throughts from the Green and White Scrimmage

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Blakely's five throughts from the Green and White Scrimmage

Click here for the gallery. 

BOSTON – As has been customary with the Celtics in recent years, their open practice on Friday night featured a pair of 10-minute scrimmages pitting the “Green” team of starters against the “White” team of reserves.
 
The White team, which apparently has been kicking the Green team’s butt for a good chunk of camp, emerged with a 33-26 win. And the Green team had to rally to win the second scrimmage, 24-18.

Similar to summer league, you can’t read too much into what happened and what didn’t happen on Friday night.
 
That said, there were a number of clear and undeniable positives for the Celtics to take from the game and hopefully build upon them going forward.
 
 
5. Al Horford's leadership established
 
The first player’s voice that the 6,000-plus fans at the TD Garden heard from was Al Horford and don’t think for a minute that was just happenstance.
 
For all the scoring and rebounding and defending that the Celtics will look for Horford to do, it is his ability to lead this team that separates him from most of his NBA brethren.
 
The fact that he’s a four-time All-Star speaks to what he has done in this league as a player. But even more telling is that was the fact that he’s been to the playoffs every year he has been in the NBA. And during that span of nine years, he has been pivotal in leading Atlanta beyond the first round – a primary goal for him and the Celtics this season – five times.
 
 
4. Celtics defense could be an elite unit this season
 
The Celtics were a top-10 defensive team last season, and have every reason to believe that they’ll be even better now. Boston has a trio of Pit Bull-like defenders on the perimeter in Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and All-NBA first team defender Avery Bradley. Throw in Jae Crowder’s defensive versatility at the wing along with a pair of upper echelon rim-protectors in Amir Johnson and Al Horford and the Celtics no longer are a team that can put a couple good defenders on the floor at one time. They actually have the depth now to go with a ‘Big’ all-defensive team or a ‘small ball’ all-defensive team which provides the kind of versatility that should result in Boston being a top-3 defensive team this season.
 
 
3. Marcus Smart poised for breakout season
 
Smart seemed about as comfortable as we’ve seen him on Friday, showcasing his range as a shooter while still being able to get after it defensively. Based on what he has done in terms of improving his game, Smart seems more likely to play off the ball than on it. With his size, strength, athleticism and ability to defend multiple positions that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If Boston does indeed have one of those magical-type seasons, Smart is a player that has the potential to help significantly. He understands the Celtics’ system inside and out, and is doing what young players on the rise should do – show growth as a player.
 
 
2. James Young playing best basketball at right time
 
These are some pretty stressful times for James Young, but you wouldn’t know it by the extremely cool demeanor he has exuded. Although it has only been a few short days of training camp, James Young has stepped up his game knowing anything less than his best could result in him being waived and potentially on his way out of the NBA. During the first Green-White scrimmage on Friday night, Danny Ainge said there were five guys essentially fighting for two roster spots. He didn’t single out Young specifically, but it’s no secret that the 21-year-old who is heading into third NBA season is among the players in that group. To Young's credit, he's doing a lot of those little things such as playing solid defense, getting deflections and making "hockey assists" to show he belongs in the NBA and more significantly, should remain a Celtic. 
  
1. Terry Rozier's tremendous strides
 
Rozier was the star of the two scrimmages the Celtics put on in front of about 6,000 people at the TD Garden Friday night. He scored, got assists, rebounded … he did it all. What impressed me the most about him was his defense on Isaiah Thomas. Rozier loves Thomas and respects the hell out of him. But Rozier  has made no secret about wanting to get more playing time this year, and is out to snatch some of the minutes from anyone ahead of him, Thomas included. We saw the tenacious potential Rozier has as an on-the-ball defender, but he seems to have taken that up a notch from his rookie season. And the confidence he has in his shot-making is undeniable. We saw that in summer league and it’s good to see that he brought it with him into training camp. Ditto for his decision-making and leading of the team at the point which are also areas in which he has improved but still needs to continue to get better at on a more consistent basis. There’s no doubt at this point Rozier will play this season and likely get a lion’s share of the minutes vacated by Evan Turner’s departure to Portland.