Rondo talks lockout at Malcolm X Park

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Rondo talks lockout at Malcolm X Park

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
ROXBURY Rajon Rondo has always been considered a student of the game.

With the NBA lockout showing no signs of ending anytime soon, Rondo is giving serious thought to just being a student.

Rondo, who left the University of Kentucky after his sophomore season, said hes considering a return to his alma mater to finish up work towards an undergraduate degree.

I got 60 hours right now, Rondo said. I got 40 left.

Rondo was at Malcolm X Park on Tuesday (Glen Davis made an unexpected visit as well) as part of the Bostons Got Wings program, sponsored by Red Bull, in which five parks had courts that were refurbished.

The parks received 500 for every steal Rondo had during the 2010-2011 season. He finished with 153 steals, which netted the parks 76,500.

It definitely means a lot, a kid like myself, growing up in the inner cities, Rondo said. Having a place to play is very big. Anything for kids, Im all with, and for.

Surrounding Rondo at Malcolm X Park were kids -- donning different color t-shirts, shorts and shoes -- taking shots at various courts.

Seeing Rondo on a court surrounded by shot-takers is a sight we may not see anytime soon.

The NBA owners and players remain in a labor stalemate since the owners locked out the players on July 1 when a new collective bargaining agreement could not be reached. Both sides have had a handful of meetings since then, but no meaningful progress has been made towards a new CBA.

And while players have been reluctant to address it, there is a growing concern that this season may be lost completely.

I dont know whats going to happen, Rondo said. I obviously cant speak too much on it. Its quiet right now. So I dont know.

What he does know is the left elbow injury he suffered in the second round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat is continuing to progress well.

I had a check-up today (Tuesday), Rondo said. Its getting there. Its still a little swollen, but other than that, no problem. Ill continue to work on it.

Rondo added that hes able to fully extend the arm now, so right now Im fine. He added, I can play a little bit. Not too much contact. I did three push-ups today. Im starting back to working out.

It remains to be seen if the work Rondo, or any of his Celtics teammates, put in this summer will be in vain if there is no season to be played. If thats indeed the case, or the season is significantly delayed, that would make it more likely that Rondo returns to the University of Kentucky and finish up his schooling.

He's wise enough to know that hes not going to be able to play forever.

Both he and Celtics coach Doc Rivers have joked about Rondo being a head coach one day. Rondo would most likely coach at the college level, which wont happen if he doesnt have his college degree.

Im close, Rondo said.

If only the same could be said about the labor situation between the owners and the players union.

Im ready to get back, lock in and focus, Rondo said.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Stars, studs and duds: Olynyk finding his stride off Celtics bench

Stars, studs and duds: Olynyk finding his stride off Celtics bench

BOSTON – It’s easy to forget that Kelly Olynyk went several months without doing anything basketball-related as he was on the mend from shoulder surgery.

His return had its share of ups and downs, but it seems the 7-foot center has found his stride and he’s making opponents pay for it.

For the second time in as many games, Olynyk came up big for the Celtics as Boston continued on its winning ways with a 108-98 win over Charlotte.

Olynyk, who scored a season-high 26 points in Boston’s win at Atlanta on Friday, had an efficient 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting against the Hornets on Monday.

Assertive. Aggressive. Contract year.

It doesn’t matter how you describe what or why Olynyk is ballin’ so hard lately.

The point is he’s doing it a better job of recognizing opportunities to make plays and executing whatever role he’s being asked to play.

“Just feeling good with the second unit,” Olynyk said. “I’m just trying to be aggressive and help the starters out.”

In the past, teams have mixed up their defensive coverages on Olynyk which frequently left him being guarded by a quicker but smaller player, or a big man with limited mobility.

Often Olynyk settled for long range shots and 3’s, regardless of the defender.

But as we’ve seen the last couple of games, he has hurt teams with his scoring around the rim which has in turn opened things up for his teammates or himself.

“We need him to play like that all the time,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “When he’s aggressive, looking for his shot, shooting open shots, even getting in there getting rebounds, offensive put-backs, that only helps us as a unit. And he’s done a great job of that the past couple games. We need that from him.”

And as he gets further removed from his offseason surgery, opportunities for him to be an impactful player for Boston will only grow.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game.

 

STARS

Isaiah Thomas

The Celtics win, and Isaiah Thomas has another offensive flurry in the fourth quarter. So what else is new? He led all scorers with 35 points which included 17 in the fourth quarter.

Kemba Walker

He’s still playing at a level that puts him in the All-Star conversation, but it’s not going to happen with the Hornets continuing to struggle. They’ve lost five in a row now despite Walker’s 24 points on Monday.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

Boston is playing more inside-out basketball of late, and that’s opening things up for both Horford and his teammates. Against the Hornets he had 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting along with six rebounds and four assists.

Kelly Olynyk

For the second straight game, Olynyk had a strong, impactful performance for the Celtics utilizing his strengths as a perimeter threat and a 7-footer who can take advantage of smaller defenders around the rim. He finished with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting to go with nine rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Marvin Williams

He was the only other Hornet besides Kemba Walker who really impacted the game significantly. Williams had 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting which included 3-for-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Jae Crowder

The 6-foot-6 Crowder continues to have a sneaky-good season for the Celtics, particularly with his 3-point shooting which ranks among the league leaders. On Monday he had 15 points which included a trio of 3-pointers to go with seven rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.

 

DUDS

Nicolas Batum

Avery Bradley put most of his effort and attention into defending Batum and man, did it ever pay off. Batum grabbed 10 rebounds, but wound up missing nine of his 11 shots from the field to finish with just four points.