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."

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.

-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.

-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.

-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.

-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.

-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.

-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.

-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.