Rivers gives Rondo more play-calling duties

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Rivers gives Rondo more play-calling duties

BOSTON As a former NBA point guard, Doc Rivers is used to calling the shots. So it's understandable if most of the sets you see the Boston Celtics run are calls made by him.

But Rajon Rondo challenges Rivers' approach more than any other point guard he's ever dealt with. The result is Rivers giving Rondo the kind of play-calling freedom that you don't see a lot of in today's NBA point guards have.

"Rondo's the only one, in the years that I've coached," Rivers said. "And the reason you give it to him is because he's the smartest one."

Rondo has certainly been on a roll of late with his play-calling, which has been a big reason why the Celtics have won four in a row, including a 115-111 overtime win against New York on Sunday.

The 6-foot-1 point guard tallied his fourth triple-double of the season, and second in three days, with 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists.

His numbers speak for themselves, but what's even more impressive is how he's putting them up while still getting his teammates involved.

Rivers said having Rondo call more of his own plays is a natural progression for his role with the team now.

"There's no guy on the floor that knows what should be run better than the point guard," Rivers said. "And if he has a feel for your team, then I'd rather have him make the call."

There are times still when Rondo will look to Rivers to make a call, but Rivers said,"it's sensational when he doesn't look."

Rondo says he has been calling his own plays for a couple of years, but it appears as though Rivers is giving him even more freedom to do so now.

"That's an honor," Rondo said. "You know I think I've had to earn his respect and knowing my knowledge of the game, we've sat down a couple times and just picked each other's brain."

Rivers added, "It's his team. I tell him that all the time, 'It's your team.' We're all in this together, but it's great when he takes over like that."

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

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Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.
 

Third inning: Red Sox 1, White Sox 0

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Third inning: Red Sox 1, White Sox 0

CHICAGO -- David Price came out firing Monday in his first major-league outing since last year's playoffs, striking out the first batter he faced while burning just 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning against the White Sox.

The lefty's elbow had him touching 96 mph on the final pitch of the first inning, which produced an easy groundout to shortstop from first baseman Jose Abreu.

More importantly, the command problems that plagued Price in two outings for Triple-A Pawtucket didn't crop up at the outset.

White Sox leadoff man Tim Anderson swung and missed at a 2-and-2 cutter to start the inning, before Melky Cabrera grounded out to first base with Price covering for the second out.

Price was staked to a 1-0 lead before he threw a pitch.

Mookie Betts' leadoff double against Chicago's David Holmberg gave way to a run thanks to some great Betts base running. He took third base on Dustin Pedroia's ground out and then scored on a foul pop up that Abreu, the first baseman, snagged in foul territory with a basket catch — a rare sacrifice fly to the first baseman.

Click here for the game summary.