Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Nine [Rondo] was edgy today, man. I loved it,” Garnett said. “I love the fact that he came out and he set the tone. And I thought he got guys involved and he was all over the place. When we win big, man, it’s because the little fella is aggressive like that. I told him after tonight’s game that I was proud of him. He had a bit of a rough day or whatever, but he played through it, he was professional, and I thought he came out and played with that edge. Any time he’s got that, that makes everybody’s job easier.”
Earlier in the interview, Garnett said Rivers had put the team through a film session Sunday on the heels of Friday’s lifeless loss in Toronto, and one can’t help but wonder if Rondo was a focal point of that session. (Garnett noted that film is “always humbling.”) Rivers admitted after the game that he resorted to old film to stress what the Celtics had done well in the past — and what they hadn’t been doing recently.
Chief among that was pushing the pace. Rivers was adamant he wanted the entire team running the floor and that starts with the point guard position.
The Rajon Rondo on display yesterday afternoon is the Rajon Rondo we’ve come to know and love. He was masterful, dominating, and confident.
The performance was a middle-finger salute to all the critics who unleashed hell on #9 for the lackluster effort in Toronto.
As one of the those critics, I still have the right to ask for consistency. For me, the gripe is not about his poor jump shot or free throws, it’s about seeing leadership and effort every night. The mercurial Rondo couldn’t even finish his big day as a true professional. He had to pull this childish crap:
Rondo was not so great to watch after the game. Cloaked in a towel, he came to his locker several times while a large group of reporters waited to ask him his thoughts. He said nothing, then disappeared into the trainer’s room. Then he came out to get something to drink. Then he disappeared again. This went on for more than an hour until longtime Celtics publicist Jeff Twiss announced that Rondo did not feel like talking.
The kid is a diva. I know it sounds silly to call him that when he can play basketball with a dislocated elbow, but it’s the truth .
Related links: WEEI – The Rajon Rondo conundrum | Herald – Rondo a-Rose to clatter | Investing in Bull market | ESPN Boston – Rondo shows his better side | Rondo’s productive night | True Hoop: Rondo’s silence speaks volumes
On Page 2, Doc Rivers won’t let JaJuan Johnson get a big head.
Johnson scored 12 points off of 6-for-13 shooting in 33 minutes, a career high in scoring, field goals made, and playing time. He also added four rebounds, two steals, a block, and an assist. The long, athletic forward was part of the Celtics fast break game too, in which they outscored the Bulls 33-7.
“He’s got to keep doing it,” said Rivers. “One game doesn’t make a star. One season doesn’t make a star. So you’ve just got to keep doing it and he’s got to do it consistently. He will, like I keep saying. He’s a great kid and he wants to do it. He’s young and he’s still learning focus and all that. But he’s a good player.”
So that’s how young legs can impact a game. Johnson is going to learn quickly that if he busts ass on the break, Rondo will find ways to get him the ball.
I’m going to channel my inner Tommy Heinsohn and say “this kid can play.”
Related links: Globe – JaJuan Johnson chips in during 4th | WEEI – Wilcox and Johnson might not be Kareem, but they were pretty good
The rest of the links:
Globe – Mondo Rondo | Back keeps Rose from facing rival | CSNNE – Dooling feels good after return | Celtics/Bulls review: What we saw | Talking points: Cs 95 – Bulls 91 | Herald – Bulls left at loss without Rose | ESPN Boston – Rivers compares Thibodeau, Belichick | Wilcox starting to click