Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn’t want to delve into Rajon Rondo‘s comments that he “hadn’t played defense in a couple of years,” prior to Friday night’s contest against the Mavs and his former player, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com writes. “I don’t know the context of the discussion, I don’t know the seriousness of his answer,” Stevens said. “So I don’t really have a reaction to that. He’s a really good player and I’m certainly not here right now to be critical or analytical of his comments to the media. Like everybody else, I’m excited for him that he has a great opportunity in Dallas.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- It is in the Knicks‘ best interest to shut Carmelo Anthony down for the remainder of the season, Filip Bondy of The New York Daily News opines. Since New York’s season is already lost, it makes little sense to risk chronic knee issues for ‘Melo, plus sitting its best player will aid the franchise in securing a higher draft pick, Bondy notes.
- The Sixers‘ Luc Mbah a Moute is much more than just a mentor for Joel Embiid; he’s quickly become the player that holds Philadelphia’s locker room together with his leadership, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
- Nets rookie Bojan Bogdanovic has been an afterthought in coach Lionel Hollins‘ rotation the past month thanks to the strong play of Sergey Karasev, Roderick Boone of Newsday writes. “It’s not what Bogey’s [Bogdanovic] done, it’s what he’s not done,” Hollins said. “You’ve got to play and compete, and go out and play well, and Karasev has shown me a lot in practice. We were struggling, I gave him a shot and he played well. It’s also a product of Bogey just hitting a wall and just not being aggressive.“
- If Nerlens Noel projects as a center long term, it could throw a wrench into the Sixers‘ plans to pair him and Embiid together in their frontcourt, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes. “Look at what a lot of teams do with their four men,” coach Brett Brown said. “They’re away from the basket. Most of the fours nowadays can almost shoot threes. If that’s your world, naturally you’re pulled away from the basket. That was Nerlens’ problem when we played him at four. He’s so used to just running to the rim, he’d lose Dirk Nowitzki, he’d lose perimeter people. It wasn’t natural for him. Maybe he can guard a five player [better]. I don’t know. I think it’s all a work in progress. But he really is a presence at the rim.“