Rajon Rondo was asked about the Boston Celtics‘ playoff hopes this weekend and he was confident.
“We put a six-game win streak together, we’ll be there. I don’t ever give up hope,” said Rondo.
Rondo may have been hopeful in what he said, but it wasn’t enough Monday night, as the Celtics fell to the Utah Jazz 110-98. Boston fell to 19-39 as the Jazz improved their record to 20-36. It’s impossible to count the Celtics out this early because of the weak Eastern Conference. Only four teams in the entire conference are over .500, and that may just be enough for the Celtics to push their way into the playoffs.
Boston has a tough schedule in the next week as they will be facing the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors. Rondo, the new leader of the Celtics, needs to keep his offensive consistency in order for the Celtics to succeed. Rondo dropped 18 points Monday night and dished off 10 assists.
Another key asset to the Celtics’ playoff run will be Jeff Green, who chipped in 21 points against the Jazz. Green spaces the floor and can draw defenders out with his ability to shoot the three ball. He is currently shooting 35.4 percent from three-point range.
Kelly Olynyk is another major contributor for the Celtics. He netted 21 points and is now averaging 6.8 PPG. The Gonzaga product has shown improvement as the season progresses.
The Jazz had six players in double-figures as they continued their disappointing season in the much tougher Western Conference.
As the Celtics look to make their push, they need to focus on defense as well as offense, because they are just around the league average for points given up with 98.