It's one game for Rondo

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It's one game for Rondo

Well, Czar Stern finally ruled on the Rajon Rondo case, and in then end, merely confirmed what we assumed all along.

Tomorrow night in Atlanta, the C's will be without their starting point guard. In reality, they'll probably be without their entire starting backcourt from the beginning of the season (and the last four playoff runs), as Ray Allen continues to work towards a return but doesn't seem to have made much progress.

This leaves the Celtics with Avery Bradley, Keyon Dooling and E'Twaun Moore as the only natural guards available for tomorrow's game (again, this is assuming Ray doesn't go), with swingers Mickael Pietrus and Sasha Pavlovic available to eaten up some time at the two spot.

It's an obviously awful predicament for the C's, who had their hands full even when Rondo was active. His absence creates a huge play making void one that won't be filled by Bradley and puts more pressure on Paul Pierce to create and dictate the offense. Given Pierce's poor performance in Game 1, and his recent physical issues, is Pierce ready to carry the extra load?

The answer may determine whether the C's fly back to Boston riding high off an upset win, or crawl back in an 0-2 hole, needing a win to effectively save their season. But in the meantime, let me just say this: Thank God for Avery Bradley's emergence.

Sure, he didn't bring his "A" Game last night, and appeared affected by the atmosphere in his maiden playoff voyage. And sure, he's definitely much better as the yin to Rondo's yang, as opposed to handling the yang all on his own. But if not for his arrival as a viable NBA player, the Celtics would be lost tomorrow. In terms of depth, speed and athleticism; having another guy who can bring up the ball and run a reasonable fast break. Bradley's their only reliable option. And as far as this season goes, he really came out of no where.

With every passing day, the Celtics more thankful that he did.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready to check out GLOW on Netflix.

*This video of a Vancouver Canucks draft pick tearing up while watching the video of his brother celebrating him getting picked is all that is right with the NHL Draft.  

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Adrian Dater has Avs first-round pick Cale Makar talking about his hockey background, and why it doesn’t matter.

*The Calgary Flames are excited about their prospects and the pieces they were able to acquire last weekend.

*The Washington Capitals have re-signed Brett Connolly for a couple of years at short money and he appears to have found a home in DC.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are still in talks with Marian Hossa about how to resolve his contract and the allergic skin condition that might have prematurely ended his hockey career.

*Will the Tampa Bay sports go through a dry spell when it comes to Hall of Fame athletes now that former Lighting forward Dave Andreychuk has been called to the Hockey Hall?

*It looks like young Pierre Luc Dubois will be put in a position to contribute with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.

*Alex Prewitt has a preview of the NHL free agency period and the stress levels that many players go through in it.

*For something completely different: This video of Drake and Will Ferrell hoop handshakes was pretty solid, and funny.

 

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

BOSTON — It doesn’t really matter what’s holding Hanley Ramirez back: his health, his desire to play at less-than-100 percent, neither, both. The Red Sox need him to produce more at the plate, as the designated hitter, or need to play someone who can produce more.

The suggestion of putting Ramirez on the disabled list so that his shoulders (and now, his left knee, where he was hit by a pitch Sunday) may heal is reasonable. If you can’t hit well — if you can’t even be in the lineup — why are you on the roster?

Ramirez was out for a second straight game Tuesday night. 

Flat-out benching Ramirez in favor of Chris Young or Sam Travis or both for a time makes sense too. Young will DH again Tuesday and Travis will start at first against Twins left-hander Hector Santiago. 

Try one, try all. The route to better production doesn’t matter. As long as the Sox get some, be it from Ramirez or somewhere else.

After Mitch Moreland, who’s playing with a fractured big toe on his left foot, homered and had another impactful night on Monday, Sox manager John Farrell made some comments that are hard to read as anything but a message to Ramirez.

“In his most recent stretch, he’s been able to get on top of some fastballs that have been at the top of the strike zone or above for some power obviously,” Farrell said. “But I think the way he’s gone about it given the physical condition he’s in, is a strong message to the remainder of this team.”

Tuesday is June 27. From May 27 on, Ramirez is hitting .202 with a .216 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage. 

In the final three months of the 2016 season, Ramirez hit .300 with a .379 OBP and .608 slugging percentage. That’s from the start of July through the end of the regular season. 

The potential for such a second-half surge is hard to ignore. The Sox need to figure out if Ramirez is healthy enough to give it to them, and if not, be willing to give someone else an extended look — be it with Ramirez on the bench or the DL.