Celtics Finally Gelling Together at (6-4)

Updated: November 22, 2012

BOSTON, MA.(BASN)—The Celtics have been on a roll lately as they look to be getting things together on the court but everyone in that locker room knows that they will go as far as Rajon Rondo takes them. Rondo is coming back after missing a game in Brooklyn because, of a bad ankle that was tweaked in the game against Utah on Wednesday. Rondo returned to the line up on Saturday against the Toronto Raptors and has been playing like an MVP candidate the first 9 games of the season averaging 12.6 assists heading into the match up at the garden. Rajon come out passing the ball like always and had the game in his control the whole time and when Rondo puts his stamp on a game and plays aggressive and gets his teammates involved it becomes a nightmare for the defense. Rondo racked up 11 assists in the first half and finished the game with 20 while all the starters were able to sit down the whole 4th quarter.


The bench had played a major part in this game as the “JET” Jason Terry had found his shooting touch adding 20 points off the bench to the mix and also looks to be one of the crowd favorites that always knows how to get the garden hyped up. If Terry can continue this performance on a nightly basis it will be no time before people start forgetting about Ray Allen because, I believe the Boston fans are still comparing the two players to see who got the better of the deal Miami or Boston. The surprise of the night in the game against the Raptors was the play of Jared Sullinger he didn’t get much action against the Brooklyn Nets and it seem to me that he took his anger out on the Raptors recording his first double double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. In my previous article about Sullinger I had said if he can produce a double double or close to it on a nightly basis he will be a force to be reckoned with especially with the Celtics needing help in the rebounding area. Celtics have also gotten a huge life from Leandro Barbosa he has been playing shooting guard and back up point guard and has surprised a lot of people with how quick he has learned the Celtics system. Barbosa brings quickness,instant offense, and great ball handling skills to the second unit and thats exactly what the Celtics needed.

The Celtics are a work in progress but the one thing they need to actually get better at is there overall defense because, they are getting out rebounded and also the interior and exterior defense has been lacking this season. The Celtics defense improved on Saturday as they beat the Raptors 107-89 for the Celtics allowing 89 points in a game is very good and they would love to keep it under 90 like they did in the championship year. The Celtics head to Detroit to face the (1-9) Pistons on Sunday and for the Celtics to get the win they have to not sleep on the Pistons and think it’s going to be a walk in the park because, at any moment things can turn around in a game. If the Celtics go into the game already thinking about their next opponent and over look the Pistons it could be trouble but, all the Celtics have to do is rebound and defend and play Celtics basketball and this should be a win for the green team. The Celtics could use this game to get the second unit on the same page and get them better if they develop a big lead in this one so I see the Celtics going to 7-4 with Pierce and Rondo having big nights leading them into the big showdowns with the Spurs and the Thunder this week.
Quotes from Saturday game against Toronto Raptors

Head Coach Doc Rivers

Re difference in the third quarter: “I thought our defense was the difference.  I thought in the first quarter our defense was fantastic throughout.  They went into a zone, and it’s funny, the zone didn’t hurt our offense; we still shot 55%.  But it killed our defense because every time we did miss a shot the guy guarding you is not the guy that you should be guarding. And so we had cross-matchups.  And instead of just guarding a guy that’s in front of you, we were running across the court trying to find our own guy.  And I thought it really bothered us.  So in a strange twist, the zone hurt our defense.  And it really did.  And then I thought we got a little bit more organized in the third quarter when we came out.  We kind of stumbled on something that was working for us and we stayed with it.  And (Rajon) Rondo was huge in that, because he, obviously, had the ball in his hand offensively.  But I just think overall when you hold a team to 89 points, they shoot 43%, no matter what you do offensively it’s your defense that won the game for you.”


Re how nice is it to have a rookie (Jared Sullinger) who is ready to contribute: “It’s nice.  He kind of knows where to go, he knows his place.  I think he was – he wasn’t happy about not playing against Brooklyn.  And I just told all the guys, guy got offensive rebound on you you’re coming out and he was the first.  And so I thought he really did a great job overall.  You know, they got a couple but I thought he was aggressive.  But he just knows how to play. He’s almost in a rare – he’s a calming effect at times when you put him in – and I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a rookie.  It’s nice to have that.”


Re how would he describe Rondo’s floor game: “I can’t.  It’s an offense in itself.  We used to say that; we’ve always said that about him.  We have an offense and then he creates another offense at times.  You know, he’s a tough one.  I sit with a lot of coaches and we brainstorm how to guard him and I love hearing them, because I know the wrong ones.  I don’t ever say much.  But it’s hard because he’s so smart.  Now he’s making the shot; it’s a lot harder.  That’s why the elbow action in the second half kept working, because they had to go over top and with him, I mean, that gives him room.  He’s been terrific.”


Re are Rondo’s 20 assists for the second time this season ‘him’ or the team: “No, that’s him.  Somebody has to make the shot so it’s probably both, so it’s him getting a better feel of the team. I didn’t know that.  I knew he had 20 today.  I didn’t know he had another 20.  So that’s impressive.”


Re has he ever seen passing spurts like Rondo’s: “Yeah, there’s been a couple.  Jason Kidd in his hey day, Magic (Johnson) all the time, (John) Stockton.  But think about it; I’ve named four or five guys.  The league’s been around a long time.  So it’s not a lot, and he’s one of them.  He’s a rare bird.  I mean, he really is.”


Re is he surprised he can go to Chris Wilcox so much (so soon after his heart surgery): “Yeah.  Yeah, we obviously had to.  But I’m still trying to get him in shape.  That’s part of the reason we’re keeping him in long stretches.  If we have a game like this where we have a lead, I try to leave him on the floor until he almost – I’m just trying to run him in shape and we have no practices.  So right now you have to try to do it in a game, which is unusual as well. But he knows what we’re doing.  It’s just, it’s tough.  Because you play tonight and you play tomorrow night.  I mean, Monday you don’t want him doing a lot of running because you have to get ready for the game after that.”

Getting a blowout win compared to a close one “It was good it gave our starters a chance to get a rest knowing that we have a back to back. Those guys gotta go in and compete again tomorrow, so this early game was good for us also. Playing at 12:30 gave us a little more time to rest on a back to back schedule.”


What changed in the 3rd quarter? “We came out and threw the first punch. KG had it going, then everybody started getting it going. P had it going, then JT didn’t want to miss a three, then we got it rolling at the end we were getting defensive stops.”


Rondo making it easier “Oh it’s a lot easier, because he’s Peyton Manning out there he’s picking the defense apart and he’s getting the ball to guys in the right position to score. He was actually mad about the 20 assist, he thought he could have gotten 30.”

Jared Sullinger

About not playing much last game “I just had to channel my energy towards next game. Understand that even though I don’t play a lot, there’s still a lot of things I can do to help the basketball team.”


Were you upset? “I wasn’t upset that I didn’t play a lot I was just upset that we lost. That’s my main priority is to win.”


What was working “The jump shot and just rebounding that’s what I do.”


Slows down on the jump shot “I’m just playing my game, that’s it. Everybody says I have an older game, so I’m just playing my game.”


Rookie with a calming effect “That’s Docs words I don’t know how you interpret that. Whatever Doc says goes, so I am just following his direction.”


Is it rebound first? “Pretty much. That’s what I came here to do is just to rebound, but then everything else just falls into place.”


First career double-double “It feels good, because I’m used to having double-doubles, so it feels good.”


“We had our ups and downs as a team, but I think today we just got better essentially, We have to play 48 minutes not just one half.”


What’s it like playing with Rondo? “You watch more then I do, so we don’t play with him. He makes it easy, he makes it easy, you think your not open, and the next thing you know your open so you gotta be ready to shoot at any time. Rondo is pretty special.”


4 games in 5 nights, how important is tomorrow? “First we gotta eat, rest and get ready for the next game. We just gotta carry what we did today and carry it to the next game. We are slowly becoming a better team every day and we have to give credit where credit is due. Our bench is kind of pulling us together and everybody is kind of doing your thing. Even if your not playing we are still getting in the gym and working on our stuff, so our vets kind of pulled this one together, so we are kind of on track now.”


Improvement since the draft “My ability to shoot. Im a little more consistent and my lateral quickness got a lot better. I’m able to move a little bit better on the floor and conditioning and a lot of stuff like that.”


Jason Terry

Re: What’s different about looks you’re getting this year: “Different team, different system, and I knew that coming in. For me it’s all about being patient. And again, when the opportunity comes I’ll take advantage of it.”


“You know, just knowing the offense we were running, it’s a tough situation. When our bigs roll hard they have to be honored. As you see them at the rim, they’re catching them with dunks or layups. And when that happens defense has to suck in, they have to help. And as a shooter, you level, because when the ball comes you just have to be ready to shoot.”


Re: Close games wanting shot: “No question. For us this year it’s been funny. We’re getting that shot that can propel us to putting a team away but we’re not getting that next stop that was seen time and time again tonight but we finally put them away at the end.”

Kevin Garnett

“When you’re in the game with him you’re not really conscious of what he’s doing but I’ve never played with a point guard who is in control of the flow like he is. Probably anyone that comes to mind I’m thinking Sam Cassel he was pretty good at controlling the flow. He could score the ball. But as far as both ends, controlling the game, understanding the flow, knowing when to slow it down, he’s probably the best at it and he’s very conscious of the games at both ends”


Where should Rondo rank in terms of MVP

“I don’t know. You know I’ve always looked at someone as MVP as someone that is able to dictate the game stat wise, get rebounds, does multiple things for his team. That’s preference. I understand that I can be bias because I play with him, I see his growth and how hard he works but when you look at the overall package its unbelievable what he’s doing”

Rajon Rondo

 “It felt half-way decent. It’s the minutes, we were able to get up to a good lead and I could sit the 4th


On getting assists

“It means my teammates are making shots. I’m making some Ok passes, just taking what the defense gives me”


“It’s something I look forward to every game, just trying to make my teammates happy and somehow I keep getting to 10. Tonight it was a collective team effort in terms of shots. It was a team effort and a team win tonight”

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