Rondo: First half, suspension behind us

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Rondo: First half, suspension behind us

ORLANDO, Fla. When the news came that Rajon Rondo would not be an all-star, he did what most NBA players do during the All-Star break - he made plans to soak in the warm, balmy beach weather of the Bahamas.

Then came word that he would in fact be an All-star replacement for Atlanta's Joe Johnson.

Bye-bye Bahamas.

Hello, Orlando.

Rondo made it into town early Friday morning and discussed a number of topics, chief among them being his two-game suspension for throwing a basketball at official Sean Wright at Detroit on Sunday, and the role that he has to play in the Celtics turning around what has been a disappointing first half of the season.

Not surprisingly, Rondo didn't have much to say about the suspension which not only hurt the Celtics (15-17) in their loss to the Pistons, but was certainly a factor in the two games he did not play in because of the suspension.

Both ended in losses for the Celtics, who come into the break with a five-game losing streak.

As far as the ejection at Detroit - the first of his career - Rondo said fans and foes shouldn't get too comfortable with him having that kind of outburst.

"I don't think you guys will see that again," Rondo told reporters on Friday. "So obviously, I learned from it. I'm an emotional player. I just felt things were different. And I reacted the way I reacted."

Moments before Rondo tossed the ball at Wright's chest, he drove into the lane and missed a shot. After the miss, Pistons center Greg Monroe landed on him. Rondo thought he was fouled, and didn't waste any time voicing his displeasure to Wright about what he felt was a bad non-call.

Next thing you know, Rondo has the ball in his hands. The ball leaves his hands with some serious torque, hitting Wright in the cheststomach area.

Just like that, two technicals and an automatic ejection for Rondo.

"That's in the past," Rondo said of the incident. "I made a mistake. It is what it is."

He's right.

At this point, there's no reason for Rondo or the Celtics to dwell on what happened, or view it necessarily as a major issue.

The bigger concern for them has to be how to turn around their season which is spiraling in the wrong direction - unless they want to be in the NBA lottery.

When you look at the C's roster, there's no shortage of players who need to perform at a higher level, more consistently.

Despite this being his third straight all-star appearance, Rondo includes himself in that group.

"I can do a lot more," he said. "I hold myself to a high standard. I'm not pleased with the way the team is playing, so I think I can do a better job of maybe being vocal, speaking up as far as things needing to get done."

Rondo added, "I'm not satisfied where we are. I'm not satisfied where I am. I want to continue to get better for my team. I really do believe we'll be better before the end of the year."

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

BOSTON – The Bruins have won seven of eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy and are fortifying their position as the third playoff team in the Atlantic Division with each passing victory.

The 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden on Tuesday night probably shouldn’t be all impressive based on the Yotes standing as the second-worst team in the NHL, but it was a classic trap game coming off a long West Coast road trip. Instead of falling for the trap the Bruins exploded for three goals in the second period, energized by a shorthanded Riley Nash strike, and continue to extend the winning stretch they need in order to punch their playoff ticket.

The postseason clincher is still a long way away from reality, but Cassidy said the B’s are starting to achieve the elevated level of play they’re aiming for while finally getting the full potential out of their team.

“I just want the guys to make sure that they play confident, solid hockey and believe in themselves. And play to a [higher] standard,” said Cassidy. “We’re trying to set a standard where we’re one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. They’ve been there before, the leadership group here. That’s where we’re striving to get through in the end.”

They haven’t exactly shied away from the competition either, twice beating the first-place San Jose Sharks and shutting out the first place Montreal Canadiens in the final straw that saw Michel Therrien axed in favor of Claude Julien.

The B’s have now opened up a three-point cushion over the Maple Leafs for their playoff spot and they’ve averaged 4.13 goals per game (33 goals in eight games) while allowing just 2.13 goals per game (17 goals in eight games) in the eight games going from Julien to Cassidy. 

The challenge now is to maintain that level of play over the final 19 games of the regular season to drive home their playoff bid and finish strong at a point where in each of the past two seasons they’ve utterly imploded.


 

Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Here are all the links from around the hockey world as NHL trade deadline day is upon us with no promise of fireworks in Boston.

*As referenced above, there’s a good chance the Bruins won’t be doing much today and they’re perfectly okay with that.

*Craig Custance grades every move made ahead of the trade deadline with plenty of action out of the way early.

*The Vancouver Canucks will not be trading Ryan Miller, which is smart given the normal market for No. 1 goaltenders.

*The New York Rangers lost out on the Kevin Shattenkirk rental sweepstakes at the deadline, so they’ve opted for Brendan Smith instead.

*The Florida Panthers may make a move at the deadline (which they did in acquiring Thomas Vanek) but they will not make or break their team with deadline deals.

*Doug Armstrong says that Shattenkirk was frustrated by his role with the St. Louis Blues, and that played into his trade to the Capitals.

*For something completely different: It’s a national holiday in Canada as Jay and Dan will be returning to their natural habitat.