With a six-game winning streak in the books and a favorable schedule upcoming for The Green, spirits are understandably high in Celtics nation. Here are a few odds and ends on the C’s on an off-day Tuesday:
In what was going to be an featured ESPN national matchup, (which the network pulled the plug on once they realized the Hornets would be awful this year), Austin Rivers and the New Orleans Hornets will be making their way to the TD Garden tomorrow night to take on the C’s. Naturally, this was the topic d’jour today at practice as Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and everyone in between was asking about the newest Rivers rookie. Doc for one, was not looking forward to the matchup: (Via Greg Payne at ESPNBoston)
“I’m actually not. I mean, I don’t even know what I’m looking forward to. You know it’s not like he’s playing a ton anyway, but, you never know. But, as far as him and being out on the floor, that’s just a different feeling. I still don’t know how to feel about it.”
Doc went to describe the struggles Rivers has been going through during his rookie year thus far. ”Well he’s just up and down. You can see offensively he’s not as aggressive as he should be, as he was. And that’s typical rookie year. You can see he’s playing in thought. It’s almost like our team early in the year where I kept saying, ‘We can’t be athletic until we stop thinking so much,’ and that’s where he’s at right now. He started out struggling and then he went on a nice run and now he’s struggling again. He’s having a rookie year.”
Austin’s rough shooting numbers back up Doc’s words. Hopefully old man Rivers is nice enough not to unleash Avery Bradley too often against the green rookie.
—Jared Zwerling over at ESPN.com’s Playbook had a fun little anecdote in an interview with Jason Terry about how involved and elaborate Rajon Rondo’s pregame routine is:
Most unique pregame routine: ”Rajon Rondo, for sure. His routine is long-winded and it lasts all the way through tip-off. It starts in the back hallway. He runs down a corridor and he throws the ball to our team chaplain, who throws it back. Then [Rondo] runs out into a circle, high-fives the whole team and then he does the layup lines for five minutes.
“Then he will stand under the goal and Paul Pierce will shoot every ball on the rack from half court. Rondo will catch four balls at one time and then after that, it’s just amazing — one pass off the backboard to KG, one bounce pass to Paul Pierce and then he throws it all the way up to the scoreboard and Jeff Green finishes with an alley-oop.
“It’s every game, even road games. I have no idea how he started it; I’m new to the team. I was still going through layup lines and I almost got hit with one of those balls in the head. I wasn’t aware that’s what they were doing. It threw me off.
“Before I came here, I had a ritual, and that was I’d throw the ball and make sure I hit the JumboTron. Some of them were way, way up to the ceiling, and I wanted to hit it every time. The funniest story is one time I hit the JumboTron, the ball came back and hit the ref in the head. I walked off so quick. It was Dick Bavetta.”
—Last and certainly not least, we have Keyon Dooling, now working with the C’s as a player development coordinator. Being around the team so often though, Rondo made it clear last night in talking about the leaders surrounding the team just how much of an impact Dooling was still having.
“Keyon Dooling has helped, he’s been in the locker room, amping guys up, his personality…I think it started with him,” Rondo continued. Our spirits are better, obviously.Its not fun losing, and since weve been winning, the locker room has been al ittle bit more relaxed and guys are smiling again and joking, so its back to where we’ve been from the start. We lost a couple games, we never got down, we just tightened up the locker room to try and get us back to the way we play. We play loose, we’re smiling out there on the floor sometimes, well, I don’t, but some of the teammates do, guys like Courtney, Jeff as well. So they get that swag back and I think we’ve done that the last couple of games”
When asked about it at practice today, Doc added his two cents on Dooling’s presence in the locker room and the team’s revitalized spirit.
“I’m all for it. I know Keyon has just been involved with Rondo. I think a lot of guys have had a lot to do with it. But at the end of the day, I think they’re having fun because they’re winning. When you win, you have fun. And I think they’re winning because they’re playing hard and they’re playing defense. So, those all go in order. You have to defend first and get into it, and I think our team has finally bought into that. And now they’re having fun.”