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.
“I’m happy to play with him,” Rondo said. “He’s a great listener. He wants to get better each day and he’s working hard. If I get a little winded I try to get Avery to bring it up. I also try to let him call some plays whenever he wants, just to give him a feel to call plays in certain situations.
“He’s an athletic guard who can come in and run with me,” he said. “He’s starting to break out the ball himself and create on the fast break for us. It’s a great addition now that guys are hurting, because he’s stepping up.”
Bradley, too, enjoys the collaboration, as short-lived as it will undoubtedly be.
“All year we haven’t been in a game together, and we’re learning how each other plays,” Bradley said. “It’s going to help us out a lot for in the future. Late in the game if I’m ever thrown in a game with him, we both know what each other likes. I feel like it makes it easier for anyone playing on the floor with Rondo, because he’s a playmaker. He can get you wide-open shots, and he’s a very good player.
Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley aren't going to be confused with the Jones boys (KC and Sam) anytime soon, but they're playing better than I anticipated.
I'm not sure if we'll see the RR and AB tonight vs Utah. Sherrod Blakely says Ray Allen's status will likely be a game-time decision.
While Utah is a much better team than the Celtics previous two opponents (WAS, CHA), shooting guard is not a position of strength. The lanky Gordon Hayward mans the 2 and is averaging 10.4 ppg. Defense is not his strength and Hayward will have a lot of trouble chasing Bradley around screens and back-cuts.
Utah is not a strong defensive team, but they are 3rd in the league in blocked shots. If Bradley gets to the rim, he will be challenged.
On Page 2, weighing the potential playoff seedings.
So what happens if Boston settles for a lower seed?
There's a line of thought that landing the No. 7 seed isn't the worst thing in the world. Sure, it likely means a matchup with Miami in the opening round, but the Celtics have proven that — when healthy — they match up well with the Heat. And there would be the potential to rest starters late in the regular season so they'd be in the best possible position to make hay in the postseason.
The secondary benefit in that scenario? A first-round upset gives Boston a more favorable second-round matchup (facing the winner of the 3-6 matchup, which currently projects as Orlando vs. Atlanta).
Yikes – do the Celtics still match-up well with the Heat? It's going to be last year redux. All the pressure will be on Rajon Rondo. He'll have to play out of this world for the Celtics to beat Miami.
Winning the Atlantic is going to be difficult for two simple reasons. The Celtics schedule is really hard, and Philly's schedule is really easy.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Playoff predictor is back | Power rankings | CSNNE – Celtics not putting away teams when getting the chance | Globe – Celtics putting it together | CBS Sports – Utah at Boston preview