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 intrigued to see how that all shakes itself out,” Stevens said Thursday. “There was a great excitement level to our play [during Wednesday’s win over the Toronto Raptors] just because we had a 10-guys-backs-against-the-wall type deal. But you also had the thing with Rajon possibly coming back Friday that added to that.”
The Celtics snapped a nine-game losing streak on Wednesday, a game in which Rondo was activated and sat on the bench as a dress rehearsal for Friday’s return.
“I think, obviously, the community is going to be really excited, as they should be, and our players will be really excited,” Stevens said. “And I think it’s appropriate for everyone to temper their expectations of him, especially early on in this comeback.”
OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED FOR RAJON RONDO TO COME BACK I BET HE HAS A HUNDRED ASSISTS AND ALLEY OOPS AND… wait, what?
Temper my expectations of him?
Why? Because I think he’s going to have 42 points, 24 assists, and 13 rebounds in 20 minutes of his first game back in a year?
Pshhhh. What could possibly hold him back?
“I think conditioning right now is probably the biggest question,” said Ainge, “so his minutes will be limited to start, and I don’t know if that’s going to happen for weeks or months or what. He’ll probably be playing five minutes per quarter, approximately, and knowing Rondo, he’s going to be complaining about that, probably checking himself back into the game occasionally because that’s who he is. But that’s the game plan.”
Oh, right. The ability of his weakened cardiovascular system to actually provide his body with enough power to play extended minutes at the NBA level.
Ok, the reality of this game tonight is that this is the next step back from his recovery and that he’s still not 100%. I’m sure his knee is structurally fine, but his body still has not endured the rigors of an NBA game. And no matter what you do in practice, there is simply no substitute for game action.
Rondo might influence a game here and there now that he’s back… Lord knows they could use someone to steer the ship down the rough waters of the last two minutes of games. But I’ve always said from the beginning the season would play out in the parts:
1: The shitty, sorry, one of the worst teams in the league first part of the season (mission accomplished there).
2: The Rondo returns, struggle to get acclimated, be a little better but still lose a bunch part of the season (this begins tonight).
3: The “you don’t really want to play the Celtics right now” part of the season where Rondo is back at full speed, he has grown accustomed to whatever teammates he has after the trade deadline, and now he’s leading charges and winning half of his games.
So far we’re right on target for that. By the time we get to chapter 3, the Celtics will have lost enough games that a .500 stretch to finish the season won’t really have much impact on their draft lottery position. They won’t race to a playoff spot or anything, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
Sit back and enjoy his return. This is an exciting player who is already wowing his teammates in practice. It will be fun to see some of the things he can do again… even if they’re in short, 5-minute chunks.
Related links: Globe: Rondo to return to lineup Friday | CSNNE: Tanguay: Showcasing Rondo in return? | Rondo in line to play with minutes restriction | Counting down the seconds until Rondo’s return | WEEI: Ainge confirms Rondo’s return
Page 2: Kobe Bryant wishes Pierce and KG were still here
“Absolutely,” he said recently after a Lakers practice that went on without him and his fractured left knee. “It was tough to see that happen. I mean, going against Paul and KG, Lakers-Celtics? That’s good basketball.”
Bryant shook his head and hit the memory button on his mind’s DVR.
“When we played against them, you saw really good basketball,” Kobe said. “You saw smart players, unselfish players who played both ends of the floor, multi-faceted players.
“So of course I’d hoped for a team like that to stick together, because that’s the maximum level of competition that you’re going to have. I mean, that 2010 series is my favorite series of all time, just because it was the most competitive one. It was the most difficult one. I mean, we’re going against four future Hall of Famers. That doesn’t happen too often.”
Yeah… I can’t share that same sentiment about 2010. I’m more of a 2008 kind a guy…
Those were some good times.
I’m totally on board with the rest of that sentiment, though, Kobe. I miss those days already. It’s never easy to go watch a Celtics-Lakers game when both teams are terrible.
When @RajonRondo returns tomorrow night, Elias says Celts & Lakers will sport their lowest combined win percentage (.354) in series history
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 17, 2014
WALTHAM — In a move that will add depth to their suddenly shrunken roster, the Celtics are expected to sign Rio Grande Valley Vipers small forward Chris Johnson to a 10-day contract on Friday.
Johnson has been playing for the Rockets’ affiliate in the NBA Development League, where he is averaging 19.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in 20 games this season.
“Chris has been playing very well. We need a wing player, we need someone who can shoot the ball, so Chris will add some depth to our team for now,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said before practice Thursday.
Related links: CSNNE: C’s sign Chris Johnson to 10-day contract
The rest of the links
ESPN (insider): What is Ainge up to? | ESPN Boston: C’s readying reinforcements | Globe: Mailbag: Trades, Rondo’s return, and more | CSNNE: Ainge: Bogans’ frustration with role led to excused absence