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

Jeremy Lin who? Rajon Rondo dominates in Celtics victory


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.

Jimmer Fredette scores 37 in D-League debut while Floyd Mayweather watches

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You can’t make this stuff up.

After being cut by the Spurs during training camp, Jimmer Fredette decided to stay stateside and play in the D-League, looking for a way back into and another chance in the NBA (the banged up Pelicans picked him up for four games but released him again). Fredette put up impressive numbers in his debut with the Westchester Knicks (the New York Knicks affiliate), scoring 37 points on 12-of-17 shooting, hitting a couple of threes and getting to the line a dozen times.

All while boxer Floyd Mayweather looked on from courtside (Mayweather was there to see buddy Jordan Crawford).

If Fredette keeps putting up numbers, maybe he gets a call up. But nothing is seriously going to change for Fredette unless his defense improves markedly — that has always been the big problem, and not always one exploited the same way in the D-League. He is on the low end of the athleticism scale for the NBA (not college) and that has led teams to just target him when he comes in games. There is no mercy in the NBA, and Fredette has been the gazelle outside the herd that becomes the clear target.

But he’s had a good D-League game, it’s a start on a road back.

Pelicans’ Tyreke Evans says he returns to lineup Tuesday

Tyreke Evans
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The Pelicans have needed this.

There is not one simple reason the Pelicans stumbled out of the gate this season and might as well be booking late April tee times now (they will not recover and make the playoffs). It’s a combination of issues. But at the top of any list needs to be injuries, and specifically the injury to Tyreke Evans, who had his knee scoped back in training camp.

Evans will suit up for the Pelicans Tuesday. This had been rumored for a while, but Evans himself confirmed it on Instagram.

Gm lets get it I'm not a hundred percent but happy to play today first game back #beastmode #takeflightshow

A photo posted by Tyreke Evans (@tyrekeevans) on

The Pelicans desperately need his shot creation. Anthony Davis is an unquestionable beast, but he’s not a guy you can just throw the rock to and watch him create for himself and others out on the wing. Jrue Holiday can’t really do that either. The Pelicans have looked better with Ish Smith at the point of late because he can create a little thanks to his quickness.

Evans is better at this than anyone else they have. Getting him back in the mix helps.

Norris Cole, who played fantastically for the Pelicans last season, also is expected to return to the rotation tonight.

With those two back and the team starting to find a groove, they can become respectable to dangerous. But I just can’t see them climbing out of the hole they are in and find a way into the playoffs.


Luke Walton is NBA Coach of the Month despite zero official wins

Luke Walton
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If you were going to name the Western Conference Coach of the Month for November, there was only one choice to make — the coach of the undefeated Golden State Warriors.

So congratulations Steve Kerr, since he gets the credit for those 19 and counting wins… er, wait.

The NBA announced it has given November Coach of the Month award to Luke Walton, the interim Warriors’ coach who has guided the team while Kerr is recovering from back surgery. The league also announced Cavaliers’ coach David Blatt as the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.

As the NBA explained earlier in the day, they see the Warriors as still Kerr’s team — he was the architect who put in the systems and built the foundation, while Walton is just living in the house for a while. Walton is a housesitter. So the fact the team was undefeated under Walton is moot, he gets no credit for the wins, they all go on Kerr’s resume. But Walton can win the Coach of the Month award for guiding the Warriors with their league-best point differential of 15.4 points per game.

This was expected, but now it is official.

He could win it again for December, unless Steve Kerr decides to come back

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan tied NBA record with 22 missed free throws Monday

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DeAndre Jordan tied his personal best with 12 made free throws Monday night against the Trail Blazers.

But that’s not what anybody is talking about with Jordan’s trips to the free throw line Tuesday.

So you don’t have to do the math yourself, Jordan hit just 35.3 percent of his free throws. When the Clippers pulled away with a mini-run in the fourth quarter, Blazers coach Terry Stotts responded with hack-a-Jordan, and Doc Rivers refused to take him out. The result was nine intentional fouls and trips to the free throw line in less than two minutes.

It was ugly to watch.

The purist’s answer here is “if he hits his free throws this never happens, so learn to shoot them.” That’s the camp Adam Silver is in, and it’s his voice (and that of the other owners) that matters. There is no appetite around the league to change the rule, even though more and more players are being subjected to it.

I would argue that fouling intentionally off the ball in the first place is outside the spirit of the game — it’s not playing basketball — and unsportsmanlike. I think it’s bad for the sport, much worse than missed free throws and a dragged out game. I would like to see any time there is an off-the-ball foul the aggrieved team having a choice of free throws or the ball out-of-bounds.

But I’m in the minority. The rule isn’t changing soon. Which means Jordan — or Dwight Howard or Rajon Rondo or someone — is going to get the chance to set a new free throw futility mark soon. That will be fun to watch.