Rondo impresses with strong showing, play calling

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Rondo impresses with strong showing, play calling

BOSTON You know you're a pretty good point guard when you can have an 11 assist night, your team wins on the road, and most believe you had a not-so-great game.

Welcome to the world that Rajon Rondo lives in.

While his performance in Tuesday's win at Cleveland might have left some questions about his play (he was scoreless, missed all six shots he took and had five turnovers), there was no mistaking the strong showing he had in Wednesday's 102-96 win over Milwaukee.

Rondo had the kind of bounce-back game the Celtics desperately needed, tallying 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double this season.

And on top of that, he kept Milwaukee's high scoring guard Brandon Jennings in check most of the night.

Jennings, an 18.2 points per game scorer, had just six points against Boston on 2-for-11 shooting. The two shots he made, a pair of 3s, both came when Rondo was not on the floor.

As much as Rondo's numbers stood out, even more significant was the pace at which he played.

"Rondo's pace is important for us," said Kevin Garnett. "When nine (Rondo) in control of the ball, and he's not only rebounding but getting guys open shots and scoring the ball himself, it makes us a hard team to deal with."

Part of that pace had to do with Rondo's play-calling, which head coach Doc Rivers felt was particularly impressive in the second half.

"The first half we scored points," Rivers said. "But the second half was the first time in a while where he and the whole team he just kept calling different sets and we ran our stuff to score instead of just trying to play out of random and figure it out. That's what we did in the first half. Even though we had 50 points, it was almost happenstance."

In the second half, Rivers recalled Rondo calling out 12 different sets.

"And we got to the first option, the second option and it just looked organized and good," Rivers said. "That's who we are, and that's who we have to be. And I thought it was Rondo's doing."

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

The Eastern Conference playoff race, seemingly altered by the moves -- and non-moves (hello there, Celtics) -- of some of the contenders, just took another twist.

The Raptors, bolstered by the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and appearing poised to make a run toward the top of the standings after a come-from-behind victory over the Celtics on Friday, were hit with a body blow Monday when it was announced All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry needs surgery on his right wrist and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

ESPN reports Lowry is expected to be sidelined from four to eight weeks. Toronto hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

The Raptors are currently in fourth place in the conference at 35-24, trailing Cleveland (40-17), Boston (38-21) and Washington (34-23). Without Lowry, and facing a rough, six-of-their-next-seven-games-on-the-road stretch, Toronto may stop focusing on catching the Wizards and/or Celtics and focus on holding off Atlanta (32-26) in order to hold onto home-court in the first round.

Lowry, 30, who missed the last two games because of the injury, is averaging a career-best 22.8 points per game. He also is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.