Rondo bowls for Step Up Your Game initiative

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Rondo bowls for Step Up Your Game initiative

Roller skating isnt Rajon Rondos only pastime off the basketball court. The Boston Celtics point guard also enjoys bowling.

This week he hit the lanes at Kings with over 80 students from 10 Boston schools as part of the Step Up Your Game Challenge, a new initiative by the Celtics which rewards students for achieving academic improvement.

The program targets students who are failing academic subjects or demonstrating a 90 percent or less average daily attendance on the year. In addition to bowling with Rondo, rewards also include tickets to Celtics games and an end-of-the-year celebration.

Celtics look to end Cavs' recent mastery against them

Celtics look to end Cavs' recent mastery against them

BOSTON – As the reigning NBA champs, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is well-versed on the what constitutes a big game.
 
Tonight’s matchup against the Celtics?
 
Yup, it’s a big one.
 
Boston (38-22) comes into tonight’s game with the fourth-best record in the NBA and sits in the No. 2 spot in the East, trailing the Cavs (41-17) by four games.
 
While the Celtics have lost three of their past four, they are still in the middle of a great run in which they have won 12 of their past 16.
 
“They’re playing great basketball,” said Lue, a former Celtics assistant coach. “It’s a big game; [numbers] one and two. We win tonight, we have the tiebreaker on them, a little bit more cushion. It’s going to be a good game for us.”
 
It certainly hasn’t been for the Celtics, losing to the Cavs in each of their past three meetings.
 
And in those games, Boston has given up at least 120 points in each matchup. Despite their struggles defensively against the Cavs, Boston lost the past two meetings by just six points each.
 
Against the top-four teams in the East surrounding them (Cleveland, Washington, Toronto and Atlanta), Boston has a record of just 3-8.
 
Despite the outcomes, the Celtics have shown a tendency to play with greater focus and overall effort against the Cavs, something LeBron James says he sees on a night-in, night-out basis.
 
“I think the whole NBA plays hard and they’re [Celtics] one of the teams that does that as well,” James said. “It’s always competitive every night you step on an NBA court.”
 
You would think that the competitive juices would be flowing even greater tonight considering tonight’s game features the top two teams in the East.
 
Isaiah Thomas has made no secret about paying close attention to the NBA standings.
 
LeBron James?
 
Not so much.
 
“Not me personally,” James said. “It’s all about me; it’s about our team, our process. We come out and play our game every night, then things like that take care of itself.”
 

 
 

Bruins acquire bottom-six forward Drew Stafford from Winnipeg.

Bruins acquire bottom-six forward Drew Stafford from Winnipeg.

BRIGHTON -- Bruins general manager Don Sweeney gave every indication it was going to be a mostly quiet trade deadline for the Black and Gold, and it was . . . right up until the 3 p.m. deadline.

Then the B’s dealt a conditional sixth-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for forward Drew Stafford. The trade was announced shortly after Wednesday's 3 p.m. deadline.

Stafford, 31, is having a down year due to injuries and ineffectiveness and has four goals and 13 points along with a minus-2 rating on the season, and has played in only 40 games this season after being dealt two years ago to the Jets from Buffalo along with Tyler Myers. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Stafford was a bit of a Bruins killer during his time in Buffalo and topped out with 31 goals and 52 points n the 2010-11 season. He scored 21 goals and 38 points in 78 games for Winnipeg last season, but compiled a whopping minus-23 mark.

This is a no-risk move for the Bruins, who surrender very little for a player who will give the B’s an option at wing should one of their younger players begin to struggle, or who could potentially replace someone like Jimmy Hayes among their bottom-six forwards.

Other than Stafford, the Bruins stood pat and watched as players like Radim Vrbata, Jaroslav Halak, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog didn’t move ahead of the deadline. The B's weren’t about to move their top prospects and blue-chip assets while in a rebuilding phase, and they were smart to stick to the low-risk/high-reward type move. Sweeney and Company are clearly betting on the group they’ve put together to finish up strong and power into the postseason in the final 19 games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.