The Boston Celtics weren’t facing off with the normally explosive Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. Kevin Durant was sidelined with a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the week and, as has been the case for a while now, Russell Westbrook was out of action as well. However, the struggling Cs weren’t able to take advantage of the opportunity at hand.
The role players for the Thunder combined for a solid effort that helped dismiss the Celtics and hand Boston a 101-83 loss. While the Thunder were solid, the Celtics were something different.
Boston fell in love with the three-ball in this game, taking 27 on the night in trying to make a comeback after trailing for much of the contest. The problem with that, though, is that this is not an incredibly skilled shooting team and they hit just five of their 27 attempts on the night. What didn’t aid their overall effort, though, was the continued rusty play of point guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo sat out on Wednesday to rest on the second night of a back-to-back, but was back in the lineup against OKC, his fourth game since returning to action from a torn ACL suffered last season. Still on a minutes-limit, Rondo played just 22 minutes against the Thunder and, though he amassed eight assists, he finished with just five points on 2-7 shooting and three turnovers as well.
Since coming back, Rondo has been rusty, as you might expect a player that hasn’t played competitively for a year to be. Over his four games, he’s averaging only five points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 22 minutes per game while shooting a poor 26.5 percent from the floor and turning the ball over 2.5 times per game.
For an inconsistent young team like the Celtics, Rondo can’t shake off the rust quickly enough. Obviously the Celtics are going to want to ease him back in to ensure long-term health and possibly preserve his trade value, but this team isn’t going to be any kind of successful with Rondo playing poorly. We’ll see how long it takes for him to get his legs back under him.