Rajon Rondo, just like Celtics, bounces back for win

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Rajon Rondo has been the bellwether for the Celtics. When he is on his game, the Celtics offense flows. When he is off, the team is flat.

In Game 3, he wasn’t really on his game. But he became a Celtics legend, anyway.

He dislocated his left elbow in the third quarter in a gruesome injury. He came back and played the entire fourth quarter, scoring four points and added an assist and a rebound. His performance was at the heart of Boston’s 97-81 win.

The question now becomes can he do it again? Can the Celtics?

The injury happened when Rondo and Dwyane Wade got tangled up in the third quarter. Wade, falling to the ground, seemed to wrap his hand around Rondo, who tried to brace his fall with his left hand. The elbow couldn’t take it.

The injury was gruesome, with his elbow bending the wrong way. There was no way to watch the replay and not think he was done for the series, let alone the game.

Celtics medical staff thought the same thing, but they popped the elbow back into place. Which has to hurt. A lot.

But there was Rondo back out for the fourth quarter, a sleeve over his left arm (along with his customary sleeve on the right) and playing basically one-handed. He made both his shots in the quarter, and his steal at midcourt and layup was one of the best moments of the series.

Rondo was an inspiration on a night the Celtics needed it to stay in the series.

But now comes the real test, winning Game 4 and evening the series 2-2.

Rondo said after the game he would play in Game 4 Monday night. How well, how much he can do with his left arm, could be key because you know Miami is going to show no mercy and attack him. Test him. There is no mid-game adreniline to mask the pain. Boston got the win in Game 3 despite another unimpressive statistical night from Rondo, but it will be harder to do that in Game 4.

But Rondo is a Celtics legend. And those guys always seem to rise to the occassion.

Watch Hassan Whiteside beat the Pistons at the buzzer with tip-in (VIDEO)

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The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.

The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.

That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.

Via Twitter:

Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.

Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:

Kobe Bryant says LeBron James has earned the right to take a rest (VIDEO)

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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.

Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.

Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”

Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.

Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.

“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.

The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.

Phil Jackson’s reaction to Kristaps Porzingis getting turned upside down feels about right

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New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.

That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.

Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.

Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.

Jimmy Butler won’t pick LeBron over Durant as toughest matchup in NBA, and for good reason

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Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.

He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.

Via Twitter:

The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.

Smart move, Jimmy.