When Rajon Rondo was traded to Dallas in December, it left a void of leadership to a degree. Some may argue just what kind of leader the temperamental point guard was but he was the captain of the Celtics.

So after Friday night’s 119-101 win over the Celtics, Rondo offered some advice for the likes of Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk, who are left to look up to Jeff Green, Avery Bradley and Gerald Wallace.

“Their future’€™s bright. They’€™re a very young team and a lot of hard-working guys over there,” Rondo said. “You know, stick with Avery, listen to Gerald, listen to Coach Stevens. You know, he’€™s very positive. And he expects a lot out of the guys but he’€™s the right coach for these young guys.”

With Friday out of the way, Rondo will be solely focused on getting back to the NBA finals, a place he hasn’t been since losing Game 7 to the Lakers in 2010. He did get to a Game 7 of the Eastern finals in 2012 but fell in Miami.

“I just want to win,” Rondo said. “I just want to win a championship. I’€™ve got to get to that feeling again and we have a great, talented group of guys in Dallas that I think we can do it, maybe one piece away. Our defensive rebounding, rebound entirely has to get better as a team, and coach Carlisle made an emphasis of rebounding the basketball and we did a pretty good job.”

Rondo has been known to play at his best with a chip on his shoulder. Is he playing with a bigger chip on his shoulder than in 2010?

“I wouldn’€™t say that,” he replied. “I’€™m very blessed to be playing basketball again. I took a long time off for my ACL injury and I think I took basketball for granted up to a certain point; being able to go out there every night and do what I love to do. So I don’€™t know if I was able to show it as much here while I was a Celtic, but now, I say I’€™m still just very humbled and blessed to be playing basketball. Something I love to do every night. So I don’€™t take it for granted, and this is how I play the game now.”

Rondo scored 29 points Friday, the most since he scored 30 against the Bulls just over a week before tearing his ACL in Atlanta in Jan. 2013.

And Rondo, who had six rebounds himself in the win, pointed to old Pat Riley credo about rebounding and rings. He pointed to the 52-38 advantage on the boards as a big reason the Mavericks were able to hold off the Celtics down the stretch.

“You know, rebounding wins championships and that’€™s what we’€™re trying to get better at: rebounding the ball,” Rondo said.

If someone told him in his rookie year that he’€™d return to the Garden and get a video tribute like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett did, what would he have said?

“Sounds about right,” Rondo smirked. “I mean, those are my vets. They showed me how to work and I was surrounded by great talent in my early years of my career. Played for a great coach, Doc Rivers. And I put the work in, I worked extremely hard, and obviously playing with guys like that you’€™re very humbled to be a part of that, and I won a championship, couple All-Stars, and I played as hard as I can for the Celtics and I enjoyed every moment while I was here. Even this year, you know early I was taking the train so I embraced the city and was probably the best times of my career, this far.”

Friday was a great moment for Rondo but now it’s all about looking forward.

“It’€™s in the back of my mind,” Rondo said of the first-half tribute. “I don’€™t forget too much. But it’€™s a big win more me emotionally; a big win for our team, to start our road trip off. And we’€™re on to Cleveland.”

And the ovation from the fans?

“I mean, it’€™s what I expected,” he said. “Nothing less than what I was expecting. It’€™s a class organization, classy fans, and a lot of respect for me and vice versa. So I didn’€™t expect anything less and that’€™s just what it is.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

After lighting his former team up for 29 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, Rajon Rondo addressed reporters for about eight minutes following a 119-101 Dallas victory over the Celtics Friday night at an electric TD Garden.

After lighting his former team up for 29 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, Rajon Rondo addressed reporters for about eight minutes following a 119-101 Dallas victory over the Celtics Friday night at an electric TD Garden.

“Obviously it was a special day today,” Rondo said. “I’m emotionally tired, physically tired, drained right now. It was a tough game to get through but my teammates came through for me and we got the win.”

Rondo started the game red-hot. He was 6-for-6 in the first quarter, including three 3-pointers and 15 points. His third three of the quarter came with 0.2 seconds left in the period and gave the Mavericks a 31-17 lead after one quarter.

That inspired performance led into a three-minute video produced by the Celtics, which ended with the words “Thank You Rondo!” wrapped around the video board.

Rondo’s final dagger came with 2:51 left in the fourth, his fifth and final three of the night. It put the Mavericks up, 110-94. Rondo came out of the game with 1:21 left to one final ovation. The 29 points for Rondo were the most he’s scored since pouring in 30 against the Bulls on Jan. 18, 2013, just over a week before he tore his ACL in Atlanta.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The TD Garden played host to some festive games during the month of December, including reunions with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

The TD Garden played host to some festive games during the month of December, including reunions with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. But January started with what would have been an unexpected return just a couple of weeks ago: Rajon Rondo‘s first game in Boston as a visitor.

Rondo did not plan on letting his team lose this one. Dallas jumped out to a lead and held onto it for the entire game. The Mavericks ended the third quarter with a 92-64 lead, and despite the C’s cutting the gap to 10 in the fourth, the Mavs wound up victorious by a score of 119-101. Click here for a full box score.

This night was all about one man, though. So here’s five things we learned in Rondo’s return to Boston:

RONDO GOT OFF TO A HOT START

Rondo scored the first 10 Maverick points of the game in just under five minutes of action, but it didn’t stop there. Rondo went on to finish the first quarter by pouring in 15 total points on 6-for-6 shooting (3-for-3 from downtown). Rather than fans cheering (as they did during Rondo’s video tribute), this left many with their hands on their heads gasping, “Where was this when he was in Boston?”

RONDO HAD HIS BEST GAME SINCE TEARING HIS ACL

We all know Rondo likes to preform when the stage is brightest, and that was no different in his homecoming to Boston. Rondo’s hot start propelled him to 29 points — the most since before tearing his ACL in Jan. of 2013. Rondo finished a ridiculous 12-for-19 from the field and connected on five of his seven 3-pointers on top of it all. Rondo didn’t stuff the stat sheet quite as he did in Boston, but his six rebounds and five assists went pretty nice alongside his scoring outburst.

RONDO ACTUALLY SHOOTS THE BALL FOR DALLAS

Some people were skeptical about whether or not Rondo was trying his hardest while playing for the rebuilding Celtics. Nights like Friday don’t make that argument any better. Rondo took exactly three shots in three of his final five games as a member of the Celtics.

But in Dallas? So far Rondo has taken at least 10 shots in all seven of his games as the Mavericks’ point guard. He has also scored in double-figures in all of those games besides his first game after the trade.

THE CELTICS NEED TO ESTABLISH A ROTATION 

Brad Stevens needs to put a rotation in place to establish some order on the team. The Post-Rondo era has been reminiscent of a summer league team where any players’ minutes are practically unpredictable. Boston does have a lot of players that would be getting minutes on most teams, but 11 guys playing double-figure minutes seems excessive. Use the minutes to let you young players develop. Which leads us to …

MARCUS SMART NEEDS TO PLAY MORE POINT GUARD

If you asked anyone who is knowledgable about basketball why the Celtics drafted Smart, this would be your answer: “To replace Rondo.”

Well Rondo is now gone and Smart still has not locked down the point guard job. Yes, he’s a rookie who has been often injured, but Smart needs to learn how to play the point guard position in the NBA. With Evan Turner starting and Jameer Nelson playing 14 minutes off the bench, Smart is left as a reserve combo-guard flip flopping between positions all game.

Smart did play 28 minutes, but starter’s minutes in a more consistent role would likely benefit all parties involved. Smart would be able to develop early as the Celtics get a good look at how they need to work with their leader of the future.

 

 

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Rajon Rondo was introduced for first time as a member of the Dallas Mavericks since he was traded by the Celtics in December.

Rondo scored the first 10 points of the game for Dallas, including a pair of 3-pointers on his first two attempts from long distance.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Rajon Rondo returns to TD Garden Friday night.</p>
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Marcus Smart had a reputation in college as someone who wouldn’t back down. Now that reputation is carrying over to the NBA.

Marcus Smart had a reputation in college as someone who wouldn’t back down. Now that reputation is carrying over to the NBA.

That attitude was on full display on New Year’s Eve Wednesday at TD Garden. In the fourth quarter of Boston’s 106-84 win over the Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins threw Smart to the floor after a box out under Boston’s basket.

Cousins had been frustrated by Smart running through a pair of picks earlier.

“I did have an issue,” Cousins said. “It didn’t start with the box out. It was the pick, he tried to run through my chest and then he came and I felt he took a cheap shot on the box out. That resulted to what happened. Even with that being said, I’ve got to make better decisions. The team depends on me every night and I just can’t do things like that.”

Asked if he thought Smart went low on the box out, Cousins said, “absolutely.”

“It was a box out. That’s his opinion,” Smart answered. “Everybody saw the play. Like I said, I’m not going to back down from anything and if that’s what he thinks, that’s what he thinks.”

Several years back, Cousins was hurt on a similar play while setting a pick.

“I did. Even with that being said, I’ve still got to make better decisions,” Cousins said. “I’ve still got to keep my emotions in check. Even with that happened, I still think that could have been avoided. I’m blaming nobody but myself for that.”

As for Smart, who infamously ran into the stands at Texas Tech when he was a senior at Oklahoma State, he wanted to send a message during the game, and after.

“I want people to think of me as just a tough guy that’s never going to back down from anything and is not going to take nothing from nobody,” he said. “To be honest, I’m not really worried about that. He knows that I’m not going to back down from it. I don’t see why I got the tech. I don’t know. They didn’t really tell me that but it’s all good. I’m one of those guys that’s not going to back down from anything. I’m going to let that be known.

“I was just boxing out. But that’s out of my control and my hands. At the time, the referees made a decision that they thought was best fit for the game. I can’t really control that.”

As for running thru the pick that Cousins set that ticked of Cousins earlier: “That’s what he thinks. I’m just playing defense.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

It was quite a New Year’s Eve party in the Garden on Wednesday afternoon, as DeMarcus Cousins provided the fireworks and Gino started the dance party during the Celtics‘ 106-84 win over the Kings.