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.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.

Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)

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Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?

The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.

There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.

PBT Extra: Three things to watch with Boston in wake of Hayward injury

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Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.

What next for Boston?

In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.

Gordon Hayward addresses Celtics and fans from hospital bed (video)

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Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.

Hayward:

What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.

At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.

And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.