Rondo left banged up
Rajon Rondo lives for the boldface point guard matchups, but last night his battle with Russell Westbrook was cut short.
Early in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 89-84 loss, Oklahoma City guard Royal Ivey stepped in front of Rondo to take a charge, after which Rondo came up limping.
The game was in the balance but, after seeing him hobbling, coach Doc Rivers decided to rest his star guard.
“Doc made the decision,’’ Rondo said. “I guess he seen me limping and just decided to pull me.’’
After getting treatment for nearly an hour, Rondo came out of the trainer’s room and left the locker room limping. His status for tomorrow’s game in Toronto is uncertain.
“Clearly you want Rondo on the floor all of the time because, offensively, it’s tough to run your stuff when your guy who knows your whole system is not out on the floor,’’ Rivers said. “But I don’t know how Rondo is. I have no idea. I just knew he wasn’t running right and had to come out.’’
Rivers went with Delonte West to close the game, and he was able to put the brakes on Westbrook, who missed all seven of his fourth-quarter attempts. West hit a pair of free throws to pull the Celtics within 85-84 with 1:16 left, but couldn’t connect on a nice look from 3-point range with the Celtics down, 87-84, with six seconds left.
“I prepare myself to shoot those type of shots,’’ West said. “And the ball didn’t bounce the way I wanted it to.’’
West said he’s prepared to start in Toronto if Rondo is unavailable.
“I’m very confident in what I’m able to do out there on the floor,’’ said West. “If he’s unable to go, I’m going to do what I do best. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to be the guy that gets my number called. At the same time, I prepare myself well and I’ll be ready to go.’’
Range finders The numbers did all the foreshadowing. At the end of the second quarter, Celtics assistant Kevin Eastman leaned over to Rivers and showed him the shooting percentages and the score. The Celtics were shooting 55.3 percent and they were still down 3.
He said, “Oh my, the two times we’ve had this, we’ve lost.’’
The Thunder shot 57.1 percent in the first half and for most of the game they controlled the glass, outrebounding the Celtics, 27-17, in the first three quarters. But even that was misleading.
“Wasn’t any opportunities to rebound,’’ said Kevin Garnett. “They damn near made every shot. It’s one of those games, man. I hate to say it, but it is.’’
“We really couldn’t rebound because they were making shots,’’ Paul Pierce said. “I mean, to only give six offensive rebounds, if you look at that on a night-in, night-out basis, we’ll take that.
“They outrebounded us tonight [37-31], but they shot the ball extremely well and got to the free throw line.’’
Rivers was amazed that the Thunder shot such a high clip and still grabbed more offensive rebounds (six).
“That’s direct energy and effort,’’ Rivers said. “It happens.’’
The Celtics finished with but three offensive rebounds, the third time in 12 games they’ve hit that number — though the first time in a loss.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.