Levine: Rondo has nothing to prove

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Levine: Rondo has nothing to prove

This morning at Celtics practice, Rajon Rondo was asked if he'll have anything to prove when the C's take the court for Game 3.

His answer: "Why would I have anything to prove? I just want to win. Thats it. Im confused why you guys would think I have anything to prove. Its a game Ive been playing my entire life. The world knows what I can do. Im just going to play and do what I do best and be the best point guard in the NBA."

Rondo was also asked if he feels like he let his team down: "No," he said. "Do you feel like I let them down?"

Ahhh, that's pure Rondo.

Now first of all, it's hard to argue with his assessment of the question. Something to prove? The guy has a ring, back-to-back All-Star nods and a newly-minted assist title under his belt. He has nothing to prove. But that's not the point.

More than anything, the questions gave Rondo one more chance to apologize for what happened; to present one final act of humility before turning the page. Something like: "Yeah, I don't know about something to prove, but I'm obviously very sorry for the situation. That can't happen again. And it won't."

And I think, if put in that position, most athletes would've done just that. Taken a step back, eaten piece of humble pie and given the reporters and the rest of the world what they wanted.

But not Rondo.

He turned the question on its head. He heard "Do you have anything to prove?" and seemed to forget that the altercation even happened. He took that opportunity to show remorse and humility, and used it as a stage to pronounce himself the best point guard in the NBA!

And you know what? I love it.

Because it really doesn't matter. Honestly, does appeasing the media hordes with another public apology do anything for Rondo? Of course not. He understands the reality of the situation as much as anyone.

If he doesn't play well, everyone will use Game 1 as another example of why he's not cut out to lead the Celtics and try to run him out of town. If he plays well, everyone will go on and on about how Game 1 was such an important step in the maturation of the future leader of this great franchise.

Whether or not one thing has anything to do with the other is irrelevant.

So why play the silly game?

The only thing that matters is that Rondo has the respect and support of everyone in that locker room, and if you've listened to anything that's come from the Celtics players, coaches, Danny Ainge since the incident, it's abundantly clear that they're in his corner.

And with that, it's time to move on to Game 3 and hope that Rondo provides us all with something else to obsess about.

A triple-double would be nice.

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

Buckets' Bracketology: The NCAA Tournament begins to take on a local flavor

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Buckets' Bracketology: The NCAA Tournament begins to take on a local flavor

Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at Comcast SportsNet -- will take a look at the world of college basketball. From now until Selection Sunday, he'll be picking brackets heading into the tournament:

EAST
1. Villanova
16. NC Central/Mt. Saint Mary’s

8. Dayton
9. Virginia Tech

5. Cincinnati
12. Middle Tennessee

4. Purdue
13. Valparaiso

6. Notre Dame
11. Marquette/TCU

3. Kentucky
14. Akron

7. Minnesota
10. Kansas State

2. Louisville
15. Furman

SOUTH
1. North Carolina
16. Sam Houston State

8. VCU
9. Iowa State

5. Creighton
12. Nevada

4. UCLA
13. Belmont

6. Maryland
11. Syracuse/Providence

3. Florida
14. Princeton

7. South Carolina
10. USC

2. Oregon
15. North Dakota State

MIDWEST
1. Kansas
16. Texas Southern

8. Wichita State
9. Miami

5. Wisconsin
12. Vermont

4. Butler
13. Monmouth

6. Saint Mary’s
11. California

3. Florida State
14. UNC-Asheville

7. Oklahoma State
10. Michigan

2. Duke
15. Florida Gulf Coast

WEST
1. Gonzaga
16. UC-Davis/North Dakota

8. Northwestern
9. Arkansas

5. Virginia
12. UNC-Wilmington

4. West Virginia
13. Bucknell

6. SMU
11. Michigan State

3. Arizona
14. Arkansas State

7. Xavier
10. Clemson

2. Baylor
15. Cal-Bakersfield

LAST 4 IN:
Syracuse
TCU
Marquette
Providence

FIRST 4 OUT:
Seton Hall
Georgia Tech
Illinois State
Wake Forest

NEXT 4 OUT:
Tennessee
Pittsburgh
Indiana
Georgetown

Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.