New York Knicks v Boston Celtics - Game Two

Rajon Rondo turns off free agents considering Celtics?


Rajon Rondo has the ultimate support of Kevin Garnett.

Paul Pierce backs him, too.

But not everyone gets along with Rondo – and the list is apparently longer than just Ray Allen, whose feud with the Celtics point guard changed the Eastern Conference for years.

Replying to Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reveals some illuminating information about how Rondo is viewed across the NBA.

Rondo can be prickly and hard-headed, which he admits. He once said of opponents, “We’re not trying to be friends with anybody.” I can definitely understand why the initial opinion of playing with him is unfavorable.

But if any free agents give it a second thought, the sentiment is ridiculous.

Rondo is a warrior on the court, fighting for every edge. So what he doesn’t like his opponents? If you sign with the Celtics, you’re his teammate now. He’s absolutely someone you want on your side.

His pass-first style gives those around him easier scoring looks, and his defensive effectiveness also puts his teammates in position to excel on that end of the court. Rondo’s game is extremely unselfish, which should turn on free agents.

Reading between the lines, maybe this is why Danny Ainge is so dogged in his pursuit of Kevin Love. When Love visited Boston – a transparent signal he’s interested in the Celtics – he spoke briefly with Rondo. Perhaps Love is an exception who wants to play with Rondo. That would help explain the theory Ainge wants Love and Rondo or neither.

If Boston can’t get Love, Rondo might be an impediment to other second stars.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell
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After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.