A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

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A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

Having returned to the United States to have a growth removed from his right leg, there is a school of thought that says Allen Iverson may not return to play for Besiktas Cola in the Turkish league.

Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski had a Tweet earlier this week indicating that Besiktas attempted -- and failed -- to sign a potential replacement for him in Sundiata Gaines. They have since moved on and will sign former Celtics guard Oliver Lafayette.

Even if Iverson were to return, Besiktas is starting to realize what all 30 NBA teams realized this summer.

Iverson's game hasn't just slowed down.

It's come to a damn near screeching halt.

The idea that he might not return to Besiktas isn't all that surprising.

When he was traded from Denver to Detroit in 2008, he got hurt after struggling on the floor.

Near the end of the season, both sides decided that he would be best away from the team.

Iverson resurfaced in Memphis, and that didn't end any better.

The best thing for Iverson right now is figure out what his life after basketball will consist of.

The more you watch him, the more clear it becomes that his days as pro basketball player are numbered.

Perk technically OK for now
Only four games into his return to the lineup, and Kendrick Perkins has already picked up two technical fouls.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't worried, because Perkins has a 43-game cushion.

While the technicals may not tally up to where he'll miss games, technicals in games by nature tend to make players try to be more under control emotionally.

Perkins?

Under control emotionally?

I don't like the way that guy plays, and neither will the Celtics.

Just like the rest of the Celtics had to work through the ''respect for the game'' edict handed down by the league this season, so does Perkins.

He'll get better.

Because if he doesn't, he won't be nearly as effective as he should be -- and the Celtics will suffer.

Rondo in a slump
We saw Rondo have back-to-back games with single-digit assists totals, and a third straight seemed in order after a one-assist total in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Then halftime came, and Rondo was never the same as he ripped off 15 second-half assists.

Here's the thing about Rondo.

As much as we talk about him being the catalyst for this team, so much of his play is dictated by the play of those around him.

And we're not just talking about making shots, either.

Rondo is at his best when he has the ball in his hands, in transition.

The problem of late has been the Celtics big men either 1) not getting enough rebounds or 2) getting rebounds but not getting the ball in Rondo's hands quick enough.

That results in a lot of walking the ball up against set defenses, which, to some degree, takes a little bit away from what he does best.

Every now and then, the Celtics need a reminder of sorts as to what they do well, and how Rondo sets the tone for stellar play.

They got away from that a little bit at Portland, and a little bit more in Friday's loss at Phoenix.

We'll see if the win over the Lakers, and the way it came about with Rondo doing what Rondo does best, will be enough of a wake-up call for them moving forward.

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

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
 
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
 
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
 
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
 
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
 
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
 
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”
 

Isaiah Thomas won't make trip to Oklahoma City for Sunday game

Isaiah Thomas won't make trip to Oklahoma City for Sunday game

BOSTON – Facing Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook with a fully healthy squad is tough. 
 
Doing so without your leading scorer makes the challenge all that much greater. 
 
That is where the Celtics find themselves heading into Sunday night’s game against the Thunder without Isaiah Thomas, who did not travel with the team when they left for Oklahoma City today. 
 
Boston’s leading scorer this season with 26 points per game, Thomas suffered a right groin injury against Houston on Dec. 5 and has missed the Celtics’ past two games because of it. 
 
He was hoping to convince Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to let him travel with the team, but Thomas acknowledged convincing Ainge was a long shot. 
 
“He’s not really in favor of me going,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “I’m trying to convince them to let me go. If I’m there, they know I’m going to try and play. I’m shooting for Wednesday [at San Antonio] for the most part. That’s more realistic than Sunday. Hopefully I can play on Wednesday.”
 
Boston has split the two games with Thomas out, beating the you-know-what out of Orlando 117-87 on the road, but dropping one at home 101-94 to Toronto on Friday night. 
 
As disappointed as Thomas is with not being able to play – it’s the first games he has missed since the 2014-2015 season – he understands the potential problems that could surface with an injury like this if he and the Celtics aren’t careful. 
 
“They keep wanting to be very patient with this,” Thomas said. “They don’t want to re-injure it. It is an injury that can get re-injured and be a problem the rest of the season. I don’t want that. On top of that, it gives me time to heal all the other injuries I have.”
 
Among the other injuries Thomas was referring to, is a still-swollen finger on his left (shooting) hand. 
 
The injury was believed to have happened on Nov. 12 against Indiana. 
 
While it was painfully sore, it didn’t seem to be an issue in Boston’s next game against New Orleans when he scored a season-high 37 points. He followed that up with a 30-point performance in a 90-83 win over Dallas.