After putting a stop to their three-game skid in Philly, the Celtics grabbed another win at the TD Garden against the Magic on Wednesday night, 109-92 (

After putting a stop to their three-game skid in Philly, the Celtics grabbed another win at the TD Garden against the Magic on Wednesday night, 109-92 (click here for the box score). The home squad outscored Orlando 31-19 in the fourth quarter to close out the game, something the team has struggled with so far this season.

Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 18 points off the bench, while Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green each had 16 points.

Here’s five things we learned in the win:

RAJON RONDO SHOT WELL IN A NEAR TRIPLE-DOUBLE EFFORT

On a night when trade rumors surrounding Rondo came to light, the point guard came to play. Rondo shot an efficient 6-for-12 from the field en route to 13 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds. Despite six turnovers, Rondo had fantastic command of the game. For one of the first times this season, it seemed he had control over both him scoring the ball and getting his teammates involved — a great sign from Rondo.

THE BIGS GOT TO WORK EARLY

Tyler Zeller scored a quick four points for the Celtics on the first two possessions of the game, followed by nine straight Sullinger points. On the opposite side, Nikola Vucevic and Channing Frye combined for 13 of their own points, all before the halfway point of the first quarter.

After the centers scored the first 10 points of the game, Zeller put in another hoop for his sixth point of the quarter, but it was Vucevic who won the early battle. He finished the frame with 12 points and eights boards, putting on display why he is a candidate to make the All-Star team for the East.

HOT FINISH TO THE FIRST HALF

After falling down by eight points in the second quarter, 43-35, the C’s rallied back to take a lead into the locker room. Rondo and Kelly Olynyk led a 21-10 run to round out the half and get Boston a 56-53 lead. The C’s hit seven of their final 10 shots in the half to spark the run. Olynyk scored eight points in the period, while Rondo posted five points, six rebounds and four assists in just over six minutes on the floor.

THE BENCH WAS STRONG AGAIN

It wasn’t quite the 82-point performance we saw against the Wizards, but the Celtics’ bench was key in their win over the Magic. Even without the likes rookies Marcus Smart and James Young, as well as streaky bench scorer Marcus Thornton, the C’s were still able to get great contributions from the second-unit.

Four players combine for 50 points off the Boston bench: Bass (18) Olynyk (15), Phil Pressey (9) and Evan Turner (8). The foursome played well into the fourth quarter after giving the team such a great spark in the third. Pressey even played the entire fourth quarter, something very rare in Brad Stevens‘ rotation.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE SCHEDULE 

After a brutal November where the Celtics played almost all playoff teams, the schedule appeared to ease up on the C’s in December. An unexpected three-game losing streak had it looking like things may not turn around this month, but Boston has now won two in a row. The wins have come against poor opponents (Philadelphia and Orlando), but the green will go on to face teams under .500 in their next four contests. Here’s their stretch to fight back towards .500 if they’re going to do it.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

A major theme of the rebuilding Celtics has been that no player is safe from being traded for the betterment of the team –€“ something Danny Ainge has shown the willingness to do throughout his career. The Celtics have been one of the most active teams pursuing trades of late, according to Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, who also reported the C’€™s have showed “€œrenewed wiliness to trade Rajon Rondo.”€ While it’s just speculation at this point, we’ll be rolling out 10 trades that could make sense for the Celtics (in a 10-part series) — some involve moving Rondo, some building around Rondo and some just collect more assets as Ainge has been doing all along. Again, these specific trades are not rumors, simply ideas. This is Part 1.

With the Rondo news breaking Wednesday night — along with word Boston would prefer to send him West — let’s start this series on that theme. The Kings were a team we know had interest in Rondo, but talks in the past have fallen apart. Here’s a new proposal:

KINGS GET: Rajon Rondo

CELTICS GET: Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, Derrick Williams and a 2017 first-round pick

Ainge would likely demand Sacramento include a first-round pick as well, but the problem is the Kings can’t offer one until 2017. Rondo’s value certainly is not at it’s peak right now, so a package like this could realistically be one of the best Ainge sees.

Before shaking your head at the move, remember all three of the players the C’s would be getting in return are top-eight picks in the draft (Williams No. 2 in 2011, McLemore No. 7 in 2013 and Stauskas No. 8 in 2014). Although it is probably time to put the “bust” label on Williams, his $6.3 million would come off the books at the end of the season.

What the Celtics really get in return is two young, promising wing prospects in McLemore and Stauskas. McLemore is averaging 11.6 points in his second year in the league since departing Kansas following his freshman campaign. Stauskas is averaging just 3.6 points so far in his rookie season, but is doing so while playing only 14 minutes per game.

Stauskas was labeled as one of the best shooters in this past draft when he left Michigan as a sophomore. It’s still very early in his career, but if he were to improve, Boston could get a much needed shooter in the young Stauskas. McLemore is a good shooter in his own right, but also has the all-around potential to be a great scorer from all areas of the court. He was selected in a weak draft class, but many had him penciled in as the No.1 overall selection at the time.

The trade would likely hinge on Sacramento’s willingness to include a future first-rounder — something Ainge presumably will require no matter how many prospects he is receiving in exchange for his point guard. The Kings would then have their own Big Three of sorts, built around Rondo, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. Boston would get their wish of keeping Rondo out of the East, while adding three quality assets including the draft pick. A move like this would undoubtably put C’s rebuild in full tilt.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

It was bound to come sooner or later, and sure enough, just days after free agents signed over the summer became eligible to be traded, Celtics point guard

It was bound to come sooner or later, and sure enough, just days after free agents signed over the summer became eligible to be traded, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is reportedly on the market.

Talks of a trade involving Rondo have increased in recent days, according to Yahoo Sports columnists Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears. To the surprise of nobody, Celtics president Danny Ainge is holding out for a hefty return, preferably from a Western Conference foe.

The Celtics are exhibiting a renewed willingness to pursue trade packages that include point guard Rajon Rondo, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

As much as ever in his nine seasons in Boston, the Celtics have left strong impressions with rival organizations that they’€™re prepared to make a deal that includes Rondo, sources said. Boston has been engaged in discussions described as ‘€œserious’€ in recent days, but no trade agreement is imminent.

We’ve been following the Celtics captain’s trade value in our weekly Rajon Rondo Trade Barometer series.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

In the NBA, the worst place to be is the middle of the pack. If you are not contending for a championship or tanking, in my mind, you are not relevant. Because of this, each week I will rank the top five and bottom five teams in the league. The rankings are based entirely on my own observations and opinions, so please feel free to call me names in the comments section.

THE BEST

1. Warriors (21-3)

I am still skeptical about the Dubs’ ability to win it all, but any team that opens the season 21-3 deserves the top slot.

2. Grizzlies (20-4)

The Grizzlies beat the Warriors on Tuesday night at home. If the Splash Brothers are the league’s best backcourt, the Griz have the best front court in Gasol and Z-Bo. I love watching Gasol/Conley pick-and-roll as well as the absurd arc on Gasol’s jumper.

3. Rockets (18-5)

Dwight Howard, the NBA’s softest and most hated player, just missed 11 games. The Rockets went 8-3 and didn’t seem to miss a beat.

4. Wizards (18-6)

My reaction when watching Jon Wall:

Also, Marcin Gortat says he is black, and the rest of the team agrees. Beautiful stuff.

5. Hawks (17-7)

The best NBA team you have never seen. Jeff Teague is playing great. Kyle Korver continues to shoot the lights out, even if Evan Turner thinks he can’t play defense. The Hawks recently won nine games in a row where they beat teams by an average of 14 ppg.

THE WORST

5. Celtics (8-14)

I want to believe in this team. I see the potential, but losing to the Knicks is unacceptable. That was one of the worst games I have ever seen in person. Rondo only taking three shots was so frustrating that I almost jumped to the trade-Rondo bandwagon. At least Danny Ainge feels the same way and has entered Joe Dumars two-phone mode.

  4. Lakers (8-17)

Only a man who nicknamed himself Swaggy Pretty would have the gall to take and make that shot. The next week, the Lakers got absolutely destroyed by the Pacers. This team cannot and will not play defense. I just hope the lottery gives the Lakers the sixth pick, so it gets sent to the Suns and they get nothing for this horrible season.

3. Pistons (5-20)

Pistons fans rejoice. Josh Smith is on the trade block. Brandon Jennings is on the trade block. JOSH SMITH IS ON THE TRADE BLOCK!!!!!!

2. Knicks (5-22)


1. 76ers (2-22)

The boy Nerlens is a defensive beast. I don’t know what was going through Sully’s head when he attempted this dunk.

Follow Sam on Twitter @SPackGuy.

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

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

During a dismal week in which the Celtics lost to the Hornets and Knicks before snapping a three-game skid with a wire-to-wire win over the hapless 76ers, here are Rondo’s three-game totals: 19 points (9-17 FG, 0-3 3P, 1-2 FT), 27 assists (8 turnovers), 24 rebounds and six steals. He was a minus-26 in 88 minutes.

And here are the combined totals for opposing point guards Kemba Walker, Jose Calderon and Michael Carter-Williams: 40 points (14-36 FG, 3-10 3P, 9-12 FT), 20 assists (9 turnovers), 13 boards and six steals. They were plus-20 in 98 minutes.

Not great, even if Rondo submitted his third triple-double of the season against Charlotte. While he owned a superior true shooting percentage (53.1 vs. 48.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.38 vs. 2.22) with more rebounds and the same number of steals, the C’s captain should wipe the floor with that trio.

As if we expected to solve Rondo over the first six weeks of the 2014-15 season, he remains an enigma. Should he continue averaging 10.6 assists, 8.0 points and 7.5 rebounds over 82 games, Rondo will join Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only players to produce those numbers. Yet, he ranks among the league’s worst shooters from mid-range (30.2 percent), 3-point range (24.1 percent) and the free throw line (33.3 percent).

Regardless of how you feel about either set of numbers, it’s hard to argue with these: The Celtics have been better both offensively and defensively without Rondo, outscoring opponents by 0.5 points per 100 possessions in 405 minutes without Rondo and getting outscored by 3.2 points per 100 possessions in 668 minutes with him.

It’s always been impossible to measure Rondo’s impact with traditional stats, but his positive on/off numbers from 2006-12 always reflected what we thought we were seeing with our own eyes: He made everyone around him better. Statistically, that hasn’t been the case this season, and that has to concern potential trading partners.

Value: Stagnant.

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

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

RAJON RONDO TRADE IDEA

Free agents signed this past summer are now eligible to be traded, and Hornets guard Lance Stephenson is the name most often mentioned.

While Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge could pursue Stephenson without dangling Rondo in a deal, he could also weave the four-time All-Star into a much larger trade.

Charlotte just signed Kemba Walker to a four-year, $48 million extension. So, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe suggested, the UConn product joins old friend Al Jefferson as (somewhat) untouchable, making Rondo of little use to owner Michael Jordan.

However, Stephenson’s availability at a price tag of $27 million over the next three years creates all kinds of three-team trade possibilities for Ainge involving both Rondo and Jeff Green.

Take the Rockets, for example, who might be willing to part with the injured Terrence Jones and picks. Would Ainge ship Rondo to Houston and Green to Charlotte if he could collect Stephenson, Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in return?

Same goes for the Pacers. If Ainge could land Roy Hibbert, Kidd-Gilchrist and/or Stephenson in a deal that sent Green to the Hornets and Rondo to Indiana, where Larry Bird has been enamored with him, would he do it?

Ainge might not pull the trigger on either trade, but the sudden availability of Stephenson and a host of other players who don’t quite fit with their new teams increases Ainge’s chances of getting value in return should he deal Rondo.

Idea: Not too shabby.

RAJON RONDO TRADE ODDS

Suddenly, Celtics rookie point guard Marcus Smart is injury prone.

After missing just three games in two seasons at Oklahoma State — all a result of his suspension for shoving a Texas Tech fan — he has now missed 12 of the C’s 22 games due to an ankle sprain and Achilles strain in his left foot.

One injury may be linked to the other, and a dozen DNPs this early in one’s career does not a bust make, but in the process of determining Rondo’s future, the Celtics would like to know what they presently have in Smart. While the rookie’s 23-4-5 effort in a double-overtime loss to the Wizards last week was an encouraging sign he could ultimately be their next great point guard, another prolonged absence makes the entire process that much more difficult.

The longer Smart sits on the sidelines between now and the February trade deadline, the longer the C’s should hold onto Rondo in an effort to see as much as possible from his potential replacement. So, while more players are eligible  to be traded in recent days, Ainge should hold out hope his starting and backup point guards increase their value.

Odds: 20-1.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Kelly Olynyk netted a career-high 30 points to help lead the Celtics to a 105-87 win over the lowly Sixers, in Philadelphia. (For a complete box score, click here.)

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk netted a career-high 30 points to help lead the Celtics to a 105-87 win over the lowly Sixers, in Philadelphia. (For a complete box score, click here.)

Philadelphia (2-22) dropped to 0-13 at home this season, staying in contention for the NBA record more most home losses to begin a campaign. (The 1993-94 Mavericks started 0-19.)

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Celtics, who had beaten Philly in the teams’ only other meeting this season.

The C’s broke open a five-point lead in the first quarter with a 27-13 second quarter, thanks in large part to Olynyk’s 18 first-half points.

Avery Bradley only went 5-for-20 from the floor, but finished as the Celtics’ second-leading scorer with 15 points.

Two Celtics mainstays struggled in the win, with Jared Sullinger netting just five points on 2-of-10 shooting, and Rajon Rondo taking just three shots on the way to a five-point night.

For a complete recap, click here.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

The Celtics dropped a 101-95 decision to the New York Knicks (click here for a box score) Friday night at TD Garden.