Rajon Rondo says fan support is ‘a big reason why you wouldn’t want to leave’ Boston

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Rajon Rondo has one more year on his contract with the Celtics, but will become an unrestricted free agent following the conclusion of the 2015 season.

The Celtics are rebuilding, and as the team continues to weigh its options, there’s no guarantee that Rondo will finish out his current deal in Boston.

But speaking about his future, Rondo said there are many factors that go into choosing where a player wants to play. And the fan support the Celtics have received, especially this year during a down season, didn’t go unnoticed.

From Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

“I know that would be a big reason why you wouldn’t want to leave a city like Boston,” said Rondo, “because every night, even with the season we’re having, we’re probably still leading the league in attendance or at least up near the top.

“I mean, the fans in Boston, they know the game. You can’t cheat the fans. They know the game. It’s fun to play there. It’s definitely something you appreciate even more once you go on the road and see other teams that have like 6,000 people in the stands. Every night, it’s 18,000 in Boston.

“So you don’t take that for granted,” Rondo said. “I know I don’t. I’ve been in the league for eight years, and in Boston the crowd is consistent. They’re always there.”

Joel Anthony, Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass all had similar things to say in the same piece.

While the fan support in Boston may be well above average, it hasn’t translated into free agents choosing to sign with the Celtics. The last time the team was contending for titles, it required trading for superstar players in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, neither of whom would have been likely to choose Boston in free agency.

Rondo, however, will have the chance to change all of that, should he regain his All-Star form and then choose to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Celtics.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!