Rajon Rondo started collecting accolades before his 29,233,380-second absence was even over. First, he received the NBA’s Kia Community Assist Award. But next — to the pleasant surprise of everyone watching — The Boston Celtics named Rondo their 15th captain in team history.
The Boston Celtics surprised everyone tonight – even Rajon Rondo – and named No. 9 the 15th captain in team history: http://t.co/Y10RCsL7Hs
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 18, 2014
Assuming your a fan who’d prefer to build around Rondo rather than trade him — this is good news. Teams don’t typically name players team captain a month before trading him… right?
Alright, to the game.
The Celtic-Laker rivarly is always good for a little buzz. Even when both teams combine for their lowest winning percentage in matchup history (%.354), we still seem to get lucky lining up important milestones (Ray Allen’s three-point record, Rondo’s return). At a point where both teams are amidst hard times, this game had an old school feel to it. And I’m 22, so by old school, I mean the past six years.
Anyways, you’ve heard of defense right? I don’t think Mike Dantoni’s heard of defense. The Celtic bench came in during the second quarter and torched the Laker D. A Pressey-Bayless-Olynyk trio was oddly successful, particulary Olynyk — who had nine points and five assists in the first half. As expected, Rajon Rondo mostly played in five-minute intervals. His first stint left him 0-2 from the field, but with his first assist of the year. The second stint was much better: his first bucket came on one of those behind-the-back slinging layups; which was followed by three more layups all within about a minute. The fast pace throughout the second quarter was a nice example of how Rondo can thrive when he’s surrounded by speed. Gerald Wallace scored 12 points in the first half …TWELVE! Even the missed shots were often great looks.
Midway throughout the second, it looked like the C’s were opening things up in their favor. But the Lakers, who relied largely on
Kobe Bryant Pau Gasol’s scoring bunches (finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds), crawled back in just before halftime. Don’t say your’re not surprised.
The Lakers’ three-ball kept them in the game throughout the third and into the fourth. Kendall Marhsall (19 points, 14 assists) was locked-in from deep. In some ways, it seemed like things returned to normal for the Celtics, with a slower pace and a more back-and-forth style. Still, Boston continued to find relief in the Pressey-Olynyk pairing. If you didn’t know, one would think both of these guys played their college ball together — their chemistry was sublime.
Mike Gorman said it best: “Kelly Olynyk looks like he’s in the Summer League right now”.
Rondo checked in for Phil Pressey just after the five-minute mark, and almost immediately found Avery Bradley for a transition three — opening the lead to eight points. The Lakers would not die, however, and a run ending with a Kendall Marshall three gave them a one-point lead.
Rondo had a chance to retake the lead, but his mid-range jumper fell short. Again, the Celtics had an opportunity to do the same, though Avery Bradley missed a tough baseline shot.
With 16.2 seconds left and down by one, a jump-ball video-review led to a …. rejump. To myself and many others, the video showed Wesley Johnson appeared to be the last to touch the ball before it shot out of bounds. On the rejump, Gerald Wallace lost a tip to Johnson and rookie Ryan Kelly knocked down two free throws.
Now down by three and with no time outs, Rondo attempted a three — which fell off-mark. Final 107-104, Lakers.
The Celtics had 33 asssits, a season high.
Kelly Olynyk: 25 points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals, and a block.
Phil Pressey’s follow-up game: Six points, nine assists, two steals.
Well, we lost a game we probably should have won. But there were no Kevin Ware-type injuries. So we’ll leave it at that.
Rondo’s first bucket
Jeff Green’s block
- Celtics took 55 shots in the first half
- Lakers committed 19 turnovers, Celtics had only 7
If you’re sad about the loss, let this distract you: Photo Gallery of Celtics Captains
The Celtics now travel to Orlando to play Big Baby and the Magic this Sunday, 6:00PM.