Notebook: Rondo loses ball on final play

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Rajon Rondo loses control of the ball trying to get off a final shot against the Cavaliers.BOSTON -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo didn't try to mask the reality of what happened on the final play of Friday's 122-121 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden.

"I lost the ball," said Rondo, who fumbled a bit trying to cross over to his right hand at the top of the arc with less than 2 seconds to play. Rondo never got a shot off before the buzzer, allowing Cleveland to escape with the win after rallying from a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit.

"I give them credit, they played good defense," said Rondo. "I lost the ball and didn't get the shot off in time."

The Celtics had two primary options on the play. The first look was toward Jeff Green, who was going toward the basket after getting a screen near the blocks from Avery Bradley. Inbounder Kelly Olynyk appeared to make the right choice in not attempting the long, risky pass to the basket and made a safer inbounds to Jared Sullinger above the 3-point arc to set the final sequence into motion.

Rondo ended up with the ball and the Cavs switched Shawn Marion on him coming off a Sullinger pick. Rondo tried to reset a bit at the top of the key before driving toward the right elbow -- shades of Paul Pierce -- but Marion's length prevented a shot before the buzzer sounded.

"We had Jeff over the top, which I’d have to look at the film to see if we had LeBron sealed for a lob," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "Obviously, it’s a little bit riskier of a pass. ... Then we just had a simple swing to Rondo and our desire was to reject the screen. And he had a good matchup, but Joe Harris did a nice job on him, and we didn’t get a shot off."

Stevens still liked the potential of the play, just not the execution.

"Rondo isolated on a rookie on the right wing -- I felt pretty good when he got the ball reversed to him," said Stevens.



With a first-quarter helper on an Olynyk bucket, Rondo moved into fourth place in franchise history for total assists.

Rondo finished with a season-high 16 assists and now owns 4,321 for his career. Whether he re-signs with Boston next summer should dictate whether he'll shimmy any higher on the Green's list.

Rondo now trails only Larry Bird (5,695), John Havlicek (6,114) and Bob Cousy (6,945). Past averages suggest it would take Rondo about four fully healthy seasons to catch Cousy if he were to stay in Boston.


It's been 33 years since David Blatt lived in the Boston area, but he's still able to crack jokes about the old Central Artery, made all the more witty considering the Cavaliers' team bus got snarled in Friday rush-hour traffic while trying to navigate its way to TD Garden on the path rerouted by the Big Dig.

The 55-year-old Blatt just as easily recalled growing up a Celtics fan, even if he continued to date himself with his references.

"I was an ardent follower," said Blatt. "I sat in my bedroom with a transistor radio glued to my ear listening to Johnny Most broadcasts. Some people here are too young to even remember what a transistor radio is. But I was a great follower of the Celtics and Bill Russell was my idol and probably those Celtics teams were the reasons I fell in love with basketball the way I did. Now I’m in another place and a great place."

Blatt, a native of nearby Framingham, Massachusetts, who had his sister and some old friends from Framingham South High School in the crowd, could savor the trip home when his team rallied from a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge the Celtics 122-121.

"That's quite a homecoming," cracked Blatt after the game.

Before tipoff, Blatt was asked about the challenges of being a first-year coach on a team that added so much talent, prompting some to peg it with championship expectations.

"That’s a typical Boston question," Blatt said with a smile. "You take the kid out of Boston, but you can’t take Boston out of the kid. I don’t know exactly if that’s the expectation right away. I think there’s a process in anything that you do. I do believe that we have the talent and we have the players and the experience and the personalities to dream of great things, but I also think that you need to be patient and to give this time to develop in the right way to work very, very hard at taking the right steps, whether they be baby steps or giant steps towards your goal."

Stevens said he admired Blatt's work overseas before he arrived in the NBA this season, and had a couple chats with him before the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

"I’ve been a David Blatt fan from afar for a long time," said Stevens. "I didn’t know his background, being from Framingham, until he got the job. I’m really happy for him. I’m happy for their city and there’s clearly an excitement and an enthusiasm.

"I said [Thursday] night, my in-laws all of a sudden showed up from Cleveland this weekend. Don’t know why they picked this weekend, but they just all of a sudden decided this was the game to come to. But I think people are excited about that, and I think he’s a great guy to lead them."