Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

January 28, 2013

Loss of Rondo for year hurts Celtics' playoff chances

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics' grip on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference already was slipping.

Now they'll have to hang on without Rajon Rondo.

Boston's star point guard will miss the rest of the season and undergo surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Celtics won without him on Sunday, beating the Miami Heat 100-98 in double overtime.

But what will the Celtics (21-23) do without him for the remaining 38 games with just a 2 1/2-game lead over the ninth-place Philadelphia 76ers?

"We'll see,'' coach Doc Rivers said. "Obviously, that's a blow. It's a huge blow for us.''

Rondo had triple-doubles in his last two games, giving him five for the season. He brought the ball up, got it to the right people and even improved his weak shooting so much that his 48.4 field goal percentage was third best among NBA guards.

He was averaging career highs of 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds along with 11.1 assists this season. And he was chosen as the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 17.

Now he's done.

The club said he was hurt late in Friday night's 123-111 loss, also in double overtime, in Atlanta.

"We still like our chances in the Eastern Conference,'' said Paul Pierce, who had his own triple-double Sunday with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. "Responsibilities definitely go up when you have Rondo out of the game. (I'm) more of a facilitator. (I) have to (do) a little bit of everything for this ball club.''

Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 24 points and 11 rebounds and they responded well without Rondo. Their other guards - Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa - each played at least 25 minutes and combined for 35 points.

"New guys are going to get an opportunity now,'' Pierce said.

The Celtic's prospects were bleak even before Rivers learned about 25 minutes before the game that Rondo wouldn't play. They had lost six straight games, their longest slide in six seasons. The Heat had won their last four and had the best record in the East.

At first, Rondo thought he had a hamstring injury, Rivers said. Then he was ruled out of the game with what the team said was a hyperextended right knee. An MRI was done and Rivers learned about the ACL tear during the game.

"He's known to play through injuries,'' Pierce said. "If Rondo can suit up, he's going to suit up. So he didn't suit up today and we knew it wasn't good.''

Rivers told his players of the severity of Rondo's injury after the game.

"Everyone was really happy for the win,'' Pierce said. "It brought a dark cloud in this room when you heard the news.''

Even LeBron James, who led all scorers with 34 points, expressed sympathy.

"As much as I've been a rival with Boston over the years, I never want to see anyone go down,'' James said. "It's terrible.''

James had a chance to put the Heat ahead after Pierce's 22-footer gave Boston a 99-98 lead with 31 seconds left in the second overtime. But James missed a 12-foot jumper with 6.8 seconds to go. Pierce got the rebound and was fouled.

He sank the first shot. Then, as a fan shouted "This one's for Rondo,'' he missed the second.

Miami had one last chance, but Shane Battier missed a long jumper at the buzzer.

"They defended that very well,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "There are about three different options to it, four different options to it. They defended each one of them.''

The Heat also could have won in the first overtime, but Dwyane Wade, who had 17 points, missed a jumper as the buzzer sounded.

Boston could have avoided the first overtime when Pierce inbounded from behind his backboard to Terry with 2 seconds left. But Terry's shot from the top of the key was short. The Heat had tied it on a 3-pointer by James with 7 seconds remaining in regulation after Ray Allen missed a 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go.

This game was Allen's first in Boston since he left the Celtics after five seasons and signed as a free agent with Miami. He scored 21 points.

The crowd gave him a standing ovation when highlights of his career were shown on the video board above center court during a timeout with 5:33 left in the first quarter. At the Miami bench, he raised his left hand in recognition.

"When I saw it, just all those emotions came streaming back from all the great things we did here,'' Allen said. "I'll always be a Celtic in my mind.''

Allen entered the game about a minute after the tribute and was booed when he touched the ball. The boos came down again when he took two free throws - missing the first, making the second - three minutes into the second quarter.

Now the Celtics have neither member of their starting backcourt from the past five seasons, Allen and Rondo.

Rondo's injury "puts this team and the rest of the guys in a position to be ready to step up,'' Pierce said. Sunday's win "was a perfect example. We showed we are capable.''



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Southwest Baptist slips past NSU, 5-3

     The Northeastern State baseball team lost 5-3 to Southwest Baptist Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
     
    The RiverHawks (19-22, 15-18 MIAA) held a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but a late rally from the Bearcats (23-18, 19-13 MIAA) and costly errors from the visitors allowed the home team to secure the series-opening triumph.

    April 18, 2014

  • WOMEN'S TENNIS: Conference champion NSU lands top seed in MIAA tourney

    The No. 31-ranked Northeastern State women's tennis team has drawn the top seed in the 2014 MIAA Women's Tennis Championship, the league announced Thursday morning.

    April 18, 2014