Rondo: 'I have to lead by example more'

Rondo: 'I have to lead by example more'
April 10, 2014, 12:15 am
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Rajon Rondo knows better than anyone that he is the undisputed leader of this Celtics team - one that will finish among the league's worst this season.

In these dark moments, made even more opaque after 105-97 loss at Atlanta on Wednesday, it's not unusual for leaders to fire up the troops with a stirring, powerful speech.

Still, the problems for this team won't be solved by words; even if they come from the four-time All-Star.

Simply put, they need action and not adjectives in dealing with the multitude of problems on the floor.

"There's nothing I have to say," Rondo told reporters after the loss, which was Boston's ninth in a row overall and 13th straight road defeat. That ties the franchise record for consecutive road defeats set in 1979. "I just have to lead by example more. I could have done a better job of getting guys together late when they did make their run, but I didn't."

The Celtics led by as many as nine (89-80) in the fourth quarter. Then, with less than five minutes to play, Atlanta closed out the game with a 25-8 run.

"They made plays, we didn't," said Jeff Green who had 13 points and six rebounds. "It's very frustrating."

Maybe no set of plays summed up the kind of night it was down the stretch for Boston than Kyle Korver getting a pair of wide-open 3s in the closing minutes that, not surprisingly, he knocked down with ease.

"That cost us the game for the most part," said Rondo who had 19 points and 12 assists for his 12th double-double in just 29 games this season. "You can't leave the best shooter in the gym open, especially late in the fourth quarter."

There were plenty of players, including Rondo, who didn't do their jobs as well as they should have.

He knows this.

But Rondo also knows regardless of what others do, ultimately the responsibility for this team's success and struggles, falls upon his shoulders.

"I have to do a better job, especially in the fourth quarter, of taking care of the ball and getting us in our sets quicker," Rondo said. "They turned up the pressure and took us out of our offense."

Even the usually optimistic Brad Stevens was more subdued than usual on Wednesday as the Celtics, for the second time in as many road games, failed to close an opponent out down the stretch.

"I don't know what to say other than the fact that we have to play, we have to play all the way through the game," Stevens told reporters in Atlanta. "We have to be better collectively at both ends."