Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo on aftermath of first game back: ‘I’m alive’

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If the Boston Celtics are going to trade Rajon Rondo, they need him to prove he’s healthy.

Though the Celtics could theoretically be willing to sell low, NBA teams are typically too risk-averse to trade for a player in Rondo’s condition. He needn’t be the same player he was pre-injury, but he at least must get back to playing regular minutes.

Returning Friday, Rondo took a big step in that direction. In his season debut, he had eight points (4-of-9 shooting), four assists and one turnover in 19 minutes of a loss to the Lakers. Most importantly, he wasn’t too sore after the game.

Rondo, via Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe:

“I’m alive. I’m walking. I’m well. I feel fine,” the Celtics point guard said Sunday morning before the team’s shootaround at the Amway Center here, leading up to the Celtics’ game against the Magic. “It’s been a while since I played, but I’m fine.”

Rondo’s production slipped slightly in his second game, a loss to the Magic on Sunday. In that one, he had six points (3-of-10 shooting), four assists and three turnovers in 21 minutes.

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It’s too early to nitpick how well Rondo plays. The Celtics are in the fringe of the playoff race, and they can allow Rondo to work through his conditioning issues. That his minutes increased is an encouraging sign, validating his pregame assessment that he felt fine.

Hopefully, Rondo’s playing time will keep trending up. As long he keeps feeling fine after games, there’s no reason it shouldn’t.

Gordon Hayward beats buzzer, Mavericks (video)

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 18:  Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Rodney Hood got the Jazz to overtime.

Gordon Hayward took it from there.

This extends Utah’s win streak to eight games and snaps a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. The last time the Jazz won in Dallas? Mavericks guard Deron Williams started – for Utah.*

*Those Jazz brought Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews off the bench. Dang

Rodney Hood sends Jazz-Mavericks to OT (video)

during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.

Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.

Avery Bradley fouls Khris Middleton, who makes game-winning free throw (video)

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The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.

But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.

Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.

Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.

Gregg Popovich shakes head at New Hampshire primary results during in-game interview (video)

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Par for the course, Gregg Popovich gave curt answers to end his in-game interview quickly.

But David Aldridge tempted the Spurs coach, asking whether he wanted New Hampshire primary results. Popovich walked back to hear the answer.

Told Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump won, Popovich shook his head.

Was that disapproval for the Democratic or Republican candidate – or both?