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.
“Yeah, why not?” said Rivers, acknowledging that he kept Rondo, who had missed Thursday’s loss in Brooklyn with a twisted ankle, out there for a reason. “You guys keep talking about it, so I figured I’d give him a shot at it. It’s funny; the harder we tried, the worse we got at that. When I called a timeout (with 1:38 left), I said, ‘Guys, we’re going to lose the game, by the way. Let’s not play crazy, but if we can get him (one) more, let’s do it. And if not, that’s it.’ First time we’ve done that.”
Rondo appreciated the gesture.
“It’s good to have a coach that has your back like that,” he said.
Rajon Rondo played 38 minutes in last night’s slop fest. He went from the bench to the court with 8 minutes remaining with the sole purpose of extending the double-figures assist streak (34 games). He got his numbers and remains in pursuit of John Stockton (37 games) and Magic Johnson (46 games).
There are two arguments against Rondo; the injury risk and the “shameless” pursuit of individual goals.
Rondo missed Thursday’s game vs Brooklyn because of a mild ankle sprain. He returned Saturday vs Toronto and showed no remnants of the injury, then or last night. Could he have used the extra 8 minutes of rest? Probably.
We don’t need to look far for examples of injury risk. Paul Pierce tweaked his ankle in the 4th quarter. Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski will have surgery to mend a broken forearm, an injury suffered in the final minutes of a 59-24 blowout victory.
If Rondo rolled the ankle again or went down with a major injury last night, we’d all be pissed and Doc would surely regret his decision. But athletes and coaches aren’t walking around on eggshells trying to avoid injury 24/7. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to play with an edge.
As for the “shameless” pursuit, I ask critics this – Is Rondo the first player to pursue an individual goal in garbage time?
There are extreme examples, like Andray Blatche and Ricky Davis acting like clowns in pursuit of triple-doubles. We’ve seen players compete for scoring titles on the last day of the season. Remember David Robinson’s 44 minute, 71 point performance in 1994?
I could probably uncover dozens of additional examples if I had the time because guys pursue individual goals all the time. Fifteen years from now when you visit the Basketball Hall of Fame and read about Rondo’s 105 game streak of double-digit assists on his plaque, you won’t remember last night’s game. No one will.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Maine Attraction: Joseph a scrimmage star | Rapid Reaction: Pistons 103 Celtics 83 | Out of gas in Motor city | Globe – Lee getting accustomed to reserve role | Herald – Celtics mashed in Michigan | CSNNE – Pierce will be ok | Nothing goes right in 103-83 loss | Celtics dead-men walking |