So with Rondo delivering a string of un-Rondo-like performances, he was asked on Friday night if there were any physical issues that were impacting his play on the floor.
"No, I don't think so," he said when asked. "Everybody is asking, but I'm fine."
[...] The problem, he says, is obvious.
"It's missing shots," he said. "I try not to focus on offense, but that's probably the biggest thing that sticks out. For me, I haven't made my shots lately; shots or lay-ups. I'll continue to shoot them, and eventually I'll get through it."
As Rondo continues to struggle, Celtics coach Doc Rivers remains steadfast in his belief that Rondo is merely not playing as well as he usually does.
"I don't see that," Rivers said. "I know that you guys see that or something. I don't know what you guys see, but I don't see that. He's human. He hasn't played well. I think it's that simple."
I'll go ahead and be the one that disputes what Rondo is saying.
No, Rajon, it's not that you're missing shots. It's that you're not playing like Rajon Rondo. You're not attacking as much, you're not being as disruptive as you usually are, and you simply don't look like yourself out there.
That's it. That's why everyone is asking if you're ok.
If it was just a matter of missing shots, I think most of the writers around here would look at his performances and say "wow, it's too bad he's missing all those shots because he's really getting after it." But we're not. No one is looking at Rajon's performances and thinking he's playing well but just missing.
So what's up with Rondo? Is he hurt? Probably. The plantar fasciitis that he had earlier in the season probably didn't magically disappear. And he keeps rolling his ankles thanks to those freakin' low top shoes he likes to wear. And he gets knocked around pretty good out there as it is. So I'm sure he's hurting.
Kyle Lowry went off for 20 points and 9 assists. Lowry's a decent player, but to have him go off on you like that when you're Rajon Rondo is rough. For a "premier defender"… a lot of PG's are having great nights against the C's. So Rondo is either hurt or being lazy… or a combination of both. And as we've said a million times before… as Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. So it's no shock the C's look terrible right now.
On Page 2: Age works against Shaq… but won't stop him
Shaquille O’Neal yesterday reiterated his determination to return this season from a sore Achilles tendon, by whatever means necessary, including a shot of painkiller.
But one of the most powerful forces in sports requires the 39-year-old center work his way back from what, as of last night’s matchup against the Rockets, was a 19-game absence.
“It’s age, brother,” O’Neal said during yesterday morning’s shootaround in the Toyota Center. “It’s age, every night.”
[...]But the Celtics center had a message for all of those who question his ability to return when he said, “I’ll be back — I have to be back, even if I have to take a shot (of painkiller).”
O’Neal admitted to even feeling a twinge of anxiety about his return, but has no doubt that his next game isn’t far away.
“Am I nervous? A little bit, but Doc (Rivers) has been very good about telling me to take my time,” he said. “It’s getting real close.”
I know Shaq's injury started to concern me a little bit not too long ago… but that's passed. I'm starting to look at Shaq now as a sort of PJ Brown signing. He's been gone for so long, that's what it feels like.
Like some of the mainstream guys have said… being on the trip is a good sign. He's close to coming back.
Now…. has anyone seen that other O'Neal guy?
The rest of the links:
Globe: Celtics scuffle | Hornets thumbnails | Herald: Texas truly vexes Celtics | Evidence mounts that Maloofs are serious about moving to Anaheim | CSNNE: Defense no longer C's identity | Celtics worst performance of the season in 93-77 loss | Bittersweet homecoming for Wafer | ESPN Boston: Out of Focus | Offense hurts defense