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.
A review of the game film from Friday’s double-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks shows that Rondo appeared to tweak his right knee on a drive to the basket late in the fourth quarter. Encountering traffic near the hoop, a leaping Rondo kicked the ball out to Kevin Garnett, but landed awkwardly and could be seen hobbling back out toward the 3-point arc as Boston retained possession.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted he was unsure of the exact play in which the injury occurred, but said he believed it to be in the fourth quarter against the Hawks. Here’s the crazy part: Rondo presumably played the next 12 minutes of that contest with a torn ACL. Then he showed up on Sunday at TD Garden ready to fight through what he believed was simply some lingering soreness in his right hamstring to suit up against the Miami Heat.
[...] “It means he’s pretty tough,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who endured an ACL injury during his playing days with the Knicks. “I know when I tore mine, I was crying on the floor like a little baby.”
Say what you want about this kid’s play, but Rondo is one of the toughest sons of bitches you’re going to find on a basketball court. We’ve seen him try to play with one arm thanks to Dwyane Wade. And now he played 12 minutes on a season-ending injury.
If the Celtics had only put Atlanta away, Rondo would have been on the bench with two minutes to go in the 4th… rather than trying to save the game. We always knew the coasting would cost this team (and to be fair, Rondo is at fault for that too)… we just didn’t know it would cost us not only our All Star point guard…. it also cost us at a position at which we had no real back up.
So now the Celtics need to find someone. But who? Let’s take a look… First up, a name that got thrown at me on Twitter almost immediately:
Although it’s too soon to tell what level of interest there is now, the Celtics are likely to look into adding former Celtic Delonte West.
A league source told CSNNE.com earlier this season that the only way the C’s would even consider bringing West back for a third stint in Boston, would be if one of the guards currently on the roster suffered a long-term injury.
Delonte is currently preparing to join the D-League Texas Legends, so he’s available. There are reasons why the Celtics didn’t bring him back, though. There may be some trepidation here on the team’s part.
Keyon Dooling is willing to return
He said he has entertained thoughts of a return to the court, and the Celtics now have a need for a veteran point guard.
“I’m not in shape, but I would [consider it],” he told the Globe after the Celtics’ 100-98 double-overtime win over the Heat Sunday at TD Garden.
The positives would be the return of a guy who’s still been around the team. Hell, Rondo was at Keyon’s house after the Atlanta game talking about what he thought was a hamstring injury. So these guys know him. The negative is that you’d have to let him back into NBA shape… and who knows how long that will take.
Beyond that, the free agent pickings get REALLY slim. The C’s had some interest in Mike James, but he’s staying in Dallas. The Celtics may explore a trade to get themselves a point guard, but I don’t care to speculate as to who or where that might take the C’s.
I will say this, though… to the folks who are screaming “blow it up”… you have to consider the full repercussions of such at maneuver. It’s not as simple as tearing it down and building it from the bottom. Woj sums it up very nicely.
Here’s the reality: No one in the NBA is waiting with a fistful of talented young players and draft picks for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. No one mortgages franchise futures for aging thirty-something stars. Yes, “let’s blow it up and start over” sounds noble in theory, but mostly leaves franchises in a hazy state of disarray for years to come.
[...] This is a different day, a different era, a different financial landscape in the NBA. No one gives up packages of good young players and draft picks for All-Stars in the advanced stages of careers now. Those days are gone. In a quiet corner of the TD Garden on Sunday, Ainge understood it was impossible – never mind futile – to make a sweeping declaration about his intentions.
“In our situation, you can’t just philosophically say, ‘We’re going to do this,’ ” Ainge told Yahoo! Sports. “You have to tell me what it is. You have to tell me what opportunities we have.”
“Here’s the thing: If I wanted to say, ‘Hey, let’s play for the future,’ that’s hard to do. And if I play only for the ‘here and now,’ that’s hard to do.”
Those kinds of trades are hard to do, Ainge meant.
You can try to hit the button to nuke this team if you want… but it takes two to make a trade go right, and finding that partner out there that will help isn’t there. Danny can shop and take calls all he wants, but if teams aren’t going to give him what he wants or needs to justify a major trade, then he’s just not going to pull the trigger.
Besides, Doc and the guys don’t believe they’re dead yet.
“We still like our chances in the Eastern Conference,” Pierce said. “We found we can play anybody with the team we put out there. Even without Rondo. I mean new guys are going to get an opportunity now. I know guys have taken the lesser road because of the way our team is built and now they may have to take on a bigger role. You know we have guys that are more than capable who are stepping up. You know there’s Courtney Lee, or there’s Leandro Barbosa. You know these guys can play. You know with the system we have, with Rondo being our primary playmaker, a 40 minute guy. These guys haven’t had a chance to really showcase what they can do. And now they will have that opportunity.”
Who knows, maybe this team can rally in the absence of Rondo. It’s possible that facing the impossible task of making a playoff run without Rondo is the kick in the ass some of these guys needed. I understand how F’d up that is to hear, but you never know with some people. Knowing they have a renewed opportunity for minutes could jar some of these guys awake. Or maybe it’s the possibility of being traded as part of the solution that will make them suddenly play well. Regardless, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see some guys play well now.
Which brings me to Doc.
Call him defiant in the face of impending doom. Call it the denial stage of dealing with grief. Or call it a rallying cry for his boys in the locker room. Doc Rivers laid it all out on the line for his guys after they’d all been devastated by Rondo’s news.
“Well, you can write the obituary. I’m not,” Rivers said. “You can go ahead. But I’m not. We won tonight, and so the way I look at it is: we’re going to stay in there. In my opinion, we’re going nowhere.”
Related links: WEEI: Poll: with no Rondo, what should Boston do? | ESPN Boston: With or without you | Stats: How much will Rondo be missed | CSNNE: NBA reacts to Rondo’s injury on Twitter | Pierce to take on more of a point-forward role without Rondo | Looking back at Rondo’s season checklist | Celtics, Heat react to Rondo’s injury | Rondo’s ACL tear puts C’s on emotional roller coaster | Globe: Rondo injury clouds C’s future | Herald: Rondo’s done, and so are the Celtics | Fans’ faith tested by Rondo injury | KG to Rondo: go slowly | Heat saddened for Rondo | MWDN: Leadership burden falls back on KG, Pierce
The rest of the links:
WEEI: Ray Allen: I didn’t expect to get booed the entire time | Gut check: Celtics pull out 2 OT thriller | Celtics play video tribute to Allen | ESPN Boston: Sullinger whistled for first NBA tech | Pierce shows off old tricks with Rondo hurt | Allen on return: emotions welled up in me | CSNNE: Allen makes “very weird” return | Green steps up for Boston | Globe: Celtics beat Heat in double OT | Herald: Big victory, bigger loss | Fans don’t hold back in Ray Allen’s return | MWDN: Boos, then cheers, greet Allen upon return | Rondo’s loss overshadows win