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Rondo, an early arrival, hard at work

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  November 20, 2009 04:33 PM

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Welcome to TD Garden. where the Boston Celtics (9-3) will take on the Orlando Magic (9-3) at 8 p.m.

There was a time, during last year's Eastern Conference Finals against Orlando to be exact, where Rajon Rondo's punctuality came into question. Rondo's tardiness for a playoff game against the Magic was never as private as the team would have liked, and was a catalyst for Rondo's critics to question his maturity during the summer months.

A lot has changed

With Orlando in town again tonight for the first time since that playoff series, Rondo sat on the bench watching film of his free throws with Celtics assistant coach Armond Hill more than 3 1/2 hours before gametime. The pair then took to the court to practice Rondo's form.

"That's too much," Rondo said of his grip on the ball, his right hand cocked out awkwardly to his right side.

"Just square it up," said Hill, a patient teacher.

"I'm straight!" Rondo shouted back, taking another free throw. "My elbow is straight."

"You think its straight," said Hill. "I can show you right on film, right now."

How concerning is Rondo's current free-throw percentage (currently at 25 percent)? Celtics GM Danny Ainge came out to check on the lesson, giving Hill and Rondo a putting analogy from golf. Hill, who played eight seasons in the NBA, took the time to put his hands on Rondo's elbow to shift it into the right position.

Remember it's an 8 p.m. start time for national television tonight. That means there's time for an extra basket of fries at your favorite Canal Street establishment. (Click here for a list of some good ones). I'm partial to the Grand Canal, which is named after the famed Venetian waterway in Italy but claims to be an Irish Pub on the sign. Solid use of two proud heritages.

More to come from the Garden.

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