WALTHAM — The Celtics held practice at their training facility in Waltham on Tuesday as they prepare for a three-game homestand, beginning Wednesday night against the Thunder.

WALTHAM — The Celtics held practice at their training facility in Waltham on Tuesday as they prepare for a three-game homestand, beginning Wednesday night against the Thunder.

The most noteworthy news from practice was the fact that Rajon Rondo practiced in full after missing last Saturday’s game in Chicago to have screws removed from his surgically repaired left hand. Although minor, this certainly was not a procedure that was planned far in advance — nor did Rondo seem happy about missing the game.

“Danny [Ainge] made a decision at halftime [of Friday'€™s victory over the Pacers], I had no idea,”€ said Rondo when asked when it was made official he wouldn’€™t be joining the team on their flight to Chicago Friday night.

After Friday’s game was when Rondo was notified he would be staying back in Boston to get the screws removed. Even without Rondo, the Celtics defeated the Bulls, 106-101.

“€œ[I] came in very pissed off, but, you know, the team got the win. … I just wanted to go travel with my team and play against Chicago,” Rondo said.

Rondo added he thought he would have had the surgery on Sunday — an off day.

“Well, I thought we would have the day off Sunday anyway, and I thought I could do it Sunday, but they [Ainge and team doctors] make the decisions,”€ Rondo said.

According to coach Brad Stevens, the surgery was a success.

“From everything I gathered, it was a quick in-and-out, as far as getting into his hand, taking the screws out and they anticipated him being back and full-go today and he was,” Stevens said.

As for Wednesday’s game, the Celtics point guard should be good to go.

“It’s a little sore, but nothing I can’t play with,” said Rondo.

Other practice notes:

— Marcus Smart watched practice in a compression boot after severely spraining his ankle in Friday night’s win. Smart had a very noticeable limp as he walked back into the training room after observing from the sidelines, but he is still at least a couple of weeks away from getting back on the court in a real game.

“I just told him, you know, to stay positive and, you know, stay around the guys and keep your spirits up,” Rondo said.

— Marcus Thornton left practice with a twisted ankle.

“Yeah, he walked off,” Stevens said. “€œI’€™m not concerned with it being a long-term thing right now. Everything that he’€™s told me, it sounds more of a day-to-day type thing.”€

— James Young was not at practice due to a personal matter, but is expected back in time for the game on Wednesday.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Let’s face it: This is the season of Rajon Rondo. As interesting as it is to evaluate the frontcourt progress of Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley‘s offensive potential and Jeff Green‘s surprising consistency, the biggest questions the Celtics must answer all involve Rondo. Just how good is he? Will he be traded? What can they get in return? In a weekly feature on Green Street, we’ll take stock of the Celtics captain’s status every Tuesday.

RAJON RONDO TRADE VALUE

When asked if Rondo looked like the player who earned four straight NBA All-Star Game nods from 2010-13, one of the players he’ll battle for a fifth trip to the exhibition didn’t hesitate.

“He had a triple-double tonight,” Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said after Rondo collected 15 assists, 13 points and 10 boards in a 110-107 loss to Toronto. “That’s pretty good, ain’t it?”

It’s true. The most telling indicator of Rondo’s return to health has been his ability to hover around a triple-double on a nightly basis. He’s posted averages of 11.2 assists, 9.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 33.2 minutes over five games. Oscar Robertson is the only player in NBA history to post those numbers over a full season (he did it twice … while averaging 30 points), so it’s unlikely he’ll maintain that pace through 82 games. Regardless, he’s been remarkable.

While the shooting stroke that produced one of the game’s most effective mid-range jumpers just prior to his injury has yet to return (Rondo’s 43.8 true shooting percentage currently ranks among the league’s worst for starting guards), he currently leads the NBA per game in assists (11.2), assist opportunities (21.0) and points created by assist (26.4).

Through six games, the Celtics rank second in points per game (106.3), fourth in pace (96.3 possessions per 48 minutes) and seventh in offensive rating (110.5 points per 100 possessions), and their success can in large part be attributed to Rondo’s orchestration on that end.

Defensively, though, the Celtics rank among the league’s six worst units, allowing 110.1 points per 100 possessions, and they’ve only been slightly better (107.8 defensive rating) with Rondo manning the point. Still, his 1.6 steals per game and 22.6 defensive rebound percentage place him in the league’s upper echelon in both categories, regardless of position.

Overall, Rondo has returned to All-Star form, and the rest of the league has taken note.

Value: High

Would the Cavaliers trade All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (left) for Celtics captain Rajon Rondo? (Getty Images)

Would the Cavaliers trade All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (left) for Celtics captain Rajon Rondo? (Getty Images)

RAJON RONDO TRADE IDEA

Over the past week, the notion of swapping Rondo for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving gained steam when retired All-NBA wing Tracy McGrady suggested the deal on Twitter.

At the time, Irving and Cavs teammate LeBron James had just exchanged words following a 101-82 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, and the 22-year-old two-time All-Star answered with an assist-less performance in a losing effort to the Jazz. Somehow, Irving strung together 760 dribbles, 158 touches and 36 shots without an assist, according to ESPN.com’s Tom Haberstroh.

Meanwhile, Rondo continues to orchestrate the offense by deconstructing the defense. His assists have translated into 24.4 points per game for fellow Celtics starters Bradley, Green, Sullinger and Olynyk. Imagine what he could for James, Kevin Love and Cleveland’s other wings.

Except, Irving is six years Rondo’s junior, and the Cavs handed him a five year, $90 million extension this summer. He responded with 44 points (62.7 TS%), 15 assists and nine rebounds in a pair of wins over the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans. Results for the Cleveland experiment may be inconclusive in the incubation period, but the Cavaliers are going to give Irving more than a month in the new system before deeming it a failure.

Still, it’s worth watching the relationship between Irving and James, because the four-time NBA MVP gets what he wants. Should Rondo end up on LeBron’s wish list come Christmas, Celtics president Danny Ainge would pull the trigger on that deal faster than Wild Bill Hickok.

Idea: Not bad

It's time now to ask the Magic 9-Ball.

It’s time now to ask the Magic 9-Ball.

RAJON RONDO TRADE ODDS

At least publicly, Rondo appears fully invested in Year 2 of the rebuilding process. He spent the summer studying his teammates’ tendencies alongside coach Brad Stevens, and the pair honed an offensive game plan that has produced remarkable results six games into the Celtics season.

The Celtics (3-3) are currently a playoff team, even if they’re one loss from the lottery, and the once daunting November schedule suddenly doesn’t seem so brutal. If the current state of affairs remains status quo, the Celtics are more likely buyers than sellers at the deadline.

But NBA fortunes change awfully quick, and next week will tell a different story. Just ask the Oklahoma City Thunder, who arrive in Boston Wednesday sans Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Odds: 50-1

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics assigned forward Dwight Powell to the Maine Red Claws. He is expected to participate in the D-League affiliate’s scrimmage on Sunday night.

Dwight Powell

Dwight Powell

The Celtics assigned forward Dwight Powell to the Maine Red Claws. He is expected to participate in the D-League affiliate’s scrimmage on Sunday night.

The second-round pick out of Stanford came to Boston in the trade that sent Keith Bogans to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He dressed for the Celtics for the first time in Saturday’s win over the Chicago Bulls.

The 6-foot-11 Powell averaged 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.0 minutes in six appearances during the preseason.

For more on Powell’s future in the Celtics organization, click here.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics had every reason to look disjointed on Saturday night in Chicago.

The Celtics had every reason to look disjointed on Saturday night in Chicago. On the back end of their second game in as many nights, the team was without not only Rajon Rondo (who required a minor surgical procedure to remove a pin from his wrist) but also Marcus Smart following his injury on Friday.

But the Celtics instead showed tremendous energy and intensity for most of the night, building a big enough lead — a 20-point advantage at one point, the first time in five years that the team had built such a large advantage in Chicago — that they were able to withstand a late, spirited charge by the Bulls and claim a 106-101 victory on the road. The Celtics shot 52 percent from the floor and had excellent ball handling and distribution, with 25 assists and just 12 turnovers.

Here are five takeaways from a contest that allowed the Celtics to improve to .500 (3-3) for the season:

MAYBE THE THE CELTICS CAN SHOOT

The Celtics’ 52 percent performance from the floor on 81 shots represented the third time this year (in six games) that the Celtics have shot at least 50 percent from the floor, tied for the most such contests in the NBA this season. The Celtics are now shooting 47.4 percent from the floor on the season, fifth best in the NBA to this point.

MAYBE THE CELTICS CAN CONTROL THE GLASS

With Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger leading the way, the Celtics have been one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA so far. The C’s grabbed 45 boards, seven more than the Bulls reeled in, continuing a pattern that had seen the Celtics enter the night with the third-highest rebound percentage in the league (53.8).

MAYBE EVAN TURNER *CAN* PLAY

Through five games, Evan Turner had been particularly unimpressive, scoring 6.4 points per contest with 3.2 boards and 2.2 assists a night. But given a start at point guard in his native home of Chicago, Turner delivered his best performance with the Celtics, scoring 19 on 7-of-13 from the floor with five rebounds, six assists and just two turnovers in 33 minutes. He’d previously averaged 2.2 turnovers in 19 minutes a night.

THE CELTICS LOOK DIFFERENT WHEN JARED SULLINGER IS ON THE FLOOR

Jared Sullinger was on the floor for 27 minutes, but he made an impact with his all-around game from the frontcourt, scoring 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting, grabbing eight boards and delivering four assists, and generally, when he was in the game, the Celtics outplayed the Bulls (especially their frontcourt) by a significant degree. Indeed, the Bulls’ comeback in the fourth quarter came with Tyler Zeller on the floor in Sullinger’s place for much of the night. The evaporation of a monumental lead in that time offered a reminder that Sullinger, who was a +25 while in the game, leads the Celtics with a +6.7 plus/minus on the season.

KELLY OLYNYK MAY BE ON HIS WAY TO HISTORY

Kelly Olynyk had yet another strong offensive game, making six of his nine shots including a pair from beyond the 3-point arc en route to 16 points with 11 boards. He now has eight 3-pointers through six games, a pace that would yield 109 3-pointers for the year. If he continues this early-season pace, he could become just the fourth 7-footer in NBA history to hit 100 or more 3’s in a season, joining Dirk Nowitzki (the 7-footer record-holder with 151 3-pointers; he’s reached triple digits in the category six times), Spencer Hawes and Andrea Bargnani (three times).

Despite his contributions from outside and on the defensive glass, however, Olynyk committed four turnovers and also continued his early-season penchant for committing ill-timed fouls. Though he had just three personals on the night, he committed a particularly ill-advised foul on Aaron Brooks on an off-balance jumper from just inside the arc. He made up for that, however, with a pivotal offensive board after a miss in the final 30 seconds with the Celtics clinging to a two-point lead. When that prolonged possession resulted in a pair of Turner free throws, the Bulls never again threatened.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Celtics‘ top two point guards are both out agains the Bulls on Saturday.

The Celtics‘ top two point guards are both out agains the Bulls on Saturday.

Celtics rookie Marcus Smart is expected to miss 2-3 weeks after suffering a left ankle sprain with bone bruising, according to a press release from the team. The C’s welcome the news after what initially appeared to be a more severe injury.

“Hopefully he can get back sooner rather than later,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens after Friday’s 101-98 victory against the Pacers, “because he’€™s really playing great basketball, and I’€™m sure it’€™s really disappointing to be out five games into your rookie year, even if just for a little bit of time.

Meanwhile, Celtics captain Rajon Rondo did not travel with the team to Chicago, undergoing a successful procedure to remove screws from his surgically repaired left hand. He is expected to be available when the C’s host the Thunder on Wednesday.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

When Marcus Smart landed awkwardly on Lavoy Allen‘s foot with 11:07 left in the fourth quarter and the game tied, 75-75, Celtics coach Brad Stevens learned a lot about this Celtics team. Just five games into an 82-game grind, he learned that this team will fight for each other, especially when one of their brothers goes down with injury.

Not only did medical staff hurry onto the parquet, every teammate came over to check on Smart’s condition before he was eventually lifted onto a stretcher and carted off the court and into the Celtics locker room.

“It was really scary and then obviously he was writhing in pain, so that makes it even more scary,” Stevens said. “I’€™m glad to be a part of it. I’€™m glad to be a part of a team that feels like that.”

Jeff Green, who scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the 101-98 win over the Pacers, spoke for the team when he described the tightness and togetherness of the players.

“It was very difficult,” Green said. “You hate to see a teammate go down especially when he’€™s playing well. Marcus is a soldier though. He’€™s going to get himself back together quick. I know he’€™s going to work hard to get back. Tough loss for us.

“I think its just a matter of focus. I think everybody on the bench no matter if they played or didn’€™t play they were focused, they were into the game, they were watching the game to figure out the impact of the game if they got in. You saw first-hand guys who are focusing on the game and where they can impact. Saw Gerald (Wallace) come in, the defensive intensity he came in with. The way Phil (Pressey) played on that pick and roll, breaking down their defense it was wonderful to watch.”

With Jeff Goodman of ESPN reporting that x-rays found no break, there remained a sliver of hope that Smart could return at some point later this season. But MRIs on Smart’s left ankle still need to be examined.

“Hopefully he can get back sooner rather than later, because he’€™s really playing great basketball and I’€™m sure it’€™s really disappointing to be out five games into your rookie year, even if just for a little bit of time,” Stevens said. “That’€™s what we hope it is.

“That’€™s a hard situation because you know that first and foremost you think about the team. You think about the player. You think about how he feels. Your team is clearly affected by it, because they care about him, which is a good sign. And then you have to go play, and that’€™s hard. But I thought that, if anything, the player wants your team to play with that kind of enthusiasm and that kind of passion that those guys played with in the last 8 minutes and 37 seconds or whatever it was. So again, you feel, you hope for the best. I’€™ve seen some injuries that have been pretty nasty over my time and hopefully this isn’€™t one of them. It doesn’€™t sound like it from the early indications.”

With the game tied, the Celtics outscored the Pacers 22-15 in the next eight minutes, taking a 97-90 lead. But the Pacers made one final charge. They scored the next six points and had a chance at a the lead if they could only grab an defensive rebound. But it was Green who got the ball with six seconds left, was fouled and made both free throws. Indiana cut it to one again, 99-98, on an ill-advised Avery Bradley foul with 3.7 seconds left. But the Celtics found a way to hang on for their second win in five games. A total character win in the eyes of coach Stevens.

“I thought we were great defensively at the end,” Stevens said. “We were up one, Tyler (Zeller) and (Brandon) Bass subbed in and had a great defensive possession; we ended up with the rebound, we called time-out, we executed well, Avery (Bradley) got a good shot, Jeff (Green) was in rebound position, got the rebound, got fouled. We defended well. We were not trying to foul with six seconds left but we fouled. Because I didn’€™t think we’€™d be able to get a rebound, to be quite candid. I thought it would be hard to keep (Roy) Hibbert and those guys off the glass. But we got lucky that they made two, we made two, and then we got one more stop.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia