Rajon Rondo, Jeremy Lin, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks

Jeremy Lin who? Rajon Rondo dominates in Celtics victory

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All-Star weekend, the Nets Deron Williams (who put up 38 on the Knicks) said all the hype around Jeremy Lin would have other teams’ point guards looking to take their frustrations out on the Knicks.

Meet Rajon Rondo.

The Celtics point guard had 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists and dominated the Knicks in a Boston overtime win, 115-111. That is four straight wins for the Celtics.

Only Jason Kidd among active players has gone 15-15-15 or better. The only players ever with 15 or more points 20 or more assists and 15 or more rebounds are Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson, both doing it in the 1960s. That was, until Rondo stepped on the court and played just a complete game at both ends.

Call it a cLINic if you want.

Whatever you want to call his performance, it should make the Celtics thing twice about trading him. This is a player who is a good fit for Boston, a guy who can score or set up others, plus he is as good a defensive point as there is in the league. Yes, you would trade him in a deal for Chris Paul (as the Celtics discussed before the season). But you need that level of transcendent player back or moving Rondo is a mistake, because he leads the team ever night and is capable of games like this.

He is at the heart of the reason the Celtics play smart. Boston was not the more athletic team, but they were the team that was patient and got the ball to the mismatch all game long.

That said, the Knicks had a chance — after six straight Carmelo Anthony points the Knicks were up one with :35 seconds to go. Anthony remains one of the best closers in the game.

But so is Paul Pierce — he hit a contested three because he got his right hand free with 4.9 seconds to go. Then we went to overtime where the Celtics always seemed in control.

The Knicks had spurts of brilliant ball movement, especially early in the game, but they could not keep it up consistently. That is what the Celtics do to you. Lin had a solid game — 14 points, 5 assists — but sat chunks of time due to foul trouble.

Carmelo Anthony had 25 points but needed 21 shots to do it, Amare Stoudemire had 16 points on 16 shots.

Paul Pierce had 34 points on 23 shots. What was really key was the Celtics forcing 22 turnovers from the Knicks.

In the end, Boston reminds you that they are a team that knows how to win in tight games like you see in the playoffs. The Knicks are learning that. How much they learn and how healthy Boston feels going into the playoffs will determine now far these teams advance.

Terrence Jones scores 36, leads Pelicans past Cavaliers 124-122

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Terrence Jones filled in brilliantly for injured All-Star Anthony Davis, scoring a season-high 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking LeBron James‘ dunk attempt in the fourth quarter, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-122 on Monday night.

Jrue Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, and Langston Galloway capped a 12-point night with a clean steal on James’ drive in the final minute, preventing the Cavs from erasing a deficit they had trimmed from 22 late in the first half to three with 1:32 left in the game.

Kyrie Irving scoring 35 of his 49 points in the second half, but the Cleveland fell to its fifth loss in seven games. James had 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Two of Cleveland’s recent losses came against Western Conference leaders Golden State and San Antonio, but two others have come against teams currently outside the playoff picture in the West: New Orleans and Portland.

Kevin Love had 22 points for Cleveland, which could not quite keep pace with a Pelicans squad that tied a season high for 3-pointers with 16 and shot 49.4 percent (43 of 87).

Donatas Moteijunas scored 14 for New Orleans, while Dante Cunningham scored 11. Each hit a pair of 3s.

The Cavs drained 15 3s, eight by Irving, whose step-back jumper from long range had Cleveland within three with 21 seconds to go, but the Cavs got no closer until Love’s anticlimactic 3 in the final second.

Embarrassed in a 29-point loss to NBA-worst Brooklyn at home on Friday, the Pelicans were eager for a chance to redeem themselves with a competitive showing against the defending champs. That did not appear likely when New Orleans announced less than an hour before tip-off that Davis would be unable to play because of his right leg bruise lingering from a collision with the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie.

Coach Alvin Gentry inserted Jones for Davis as the starting center, and he responded with arguably the most dynamic half of play in the fifth-year veteran’s career. He hit all eight of his shots in the first half, scoring 22 points on an array of jumpers – including two 3s – weaving drives and feisty put-backs.

Holiday, meanwhile, got into an equally prolific rhythm, hitting three 3s and highlighting several impressive drives to the hoop with a two-handed dunk. Holiday’s pullup jumper from just inside the 3-point line with 6 seconds left in the second quarter gave him 22 points and New Orleans a 22-point lead, and Holiday pumped his fist while one of the biggest crowds of the season went wild.

In the last second of the half, James executed a long inbound pass to Love, who converted a quick-release layup to make it 70-50.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Coach Tyronn Lue was assessed a technical foul by official Leroy Richardson after the coach chastised Richardson for a late whistle giving Moteijunas free throws following a missed layup. … The Cavs won the teams’ only other meeting this season, 90-82 in Cleveland on Jan. 2. … Irving slung in what would have been a sensational, off-balance, one-handed shot from about 30 feet, but it didn’t count because it came too late after Irving was fouled by Tyreke Evans as the pair pursued a loose ball near mid-court.

Pelicans: New Orleans improved to 2-2 without Davis in the lineup. … G E'Twaun Moore, who is 6-foot-4, delighted the crowd by rejecting the 6-8 James near the basket in the first half. … New Orleans shot 60.5 percent (26 of 43) in the first half.=

 

Heat’s Dion Waiters drains game-winning three to knock off Warriors (VIDEO)

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Last week Golden State crushed Cleveland, Oklahoma City, and Houston.

But none of those teams had Dion Waiters.

The final three of Waiters’ 33 points came on a deep pull-up three with 0.6 seconds left to give Miami a 105-102 upset of the Warriors. Waiters shot 13-of-20 overall and 6-of-8 from three.

This was a night the Warriors just could not get the three ball to fall, shooting 8-of-30 (26.7 percent) from deep. This ended Golden State’s seven-game win streak and extended the Miami win streak to four.

Joakim Noah with as ugly a free throw as you’ll see. And he knows it. (VIDEO)

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Joakim Noah used to be a good free throw shooter, he’s hit 70 percent for his career. But he’s shooting just 42.9 percent this season.

And no miss was uglier than the one Monday night against the Pacers.

The best part of this airball was Noah’s reaction — he knew it was bad the second he let it go.

If you want to draw parallels with the Knicks’ season, go for it.

Stephen Curry finds Kevin Durant for tomahawks slam in transition (VIDEO)

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The Warriors in transition can be beautiful basketball.

And if you don’t stop the guy with the ball from getting a straight line to the hoop, there will be highlights. In the first half Monday night, the Heat did a good job making Stephen Curry give up the ball in transition (not letting him just pull up for a three), but he found Kevin Durant, who found a lane to the basket, and… highlight tomahawk dunk.

It was a two-point game at the half between the Heat and Warriors, after what was a second quarter both teams probably want to forget.