Rajon Rondo is healthy and he’s locked in.
That’s good news for the New Orleans Pelicans Womens Alexander Steen Jersey , not so much for the Portland Trail Blazers. When Rondo is locked in during the postseason, the 6-foot-1 guard who won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics has shown he can be a tough out.
Over the course of his career, Rondo has averaged 10.5 points, 8.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds. Comparatively in the playoffs, he has averaged 14.3 points, 9.2 assists and six rebounds per game.
Not that he is buying into the Playoff Rondo hype, however.
”There’s a lot of factors into that. I don’t think you can break it down as simple as one or two things,” Rondo said after practice Monday. ”The interview would probably be too long for me to break it down completely. It’s a matter of me being healthy, minutes, my teammates trusting me, my coaching staff trusting me.
”I think we, as a team, we’re playing pretty good under pressure.”
They are indeed.
Rondo dished out 17 assists in Game 1 of the series, helping the Pelicans take a 1-0 series lead.
”You know, he’s one of the smartest players in the league Joel Eriksson Ek Jersey ,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. ”He can really orchestrate an offense. He makes his teammates better because he can find them. Defensively, he’s really smart: He can sniff things out on the defensive end.”
This was the Rondo that New Orleans hoped it would see in the postseason when the Pelicans signed him to a one-year deal.
Rondo has a reputation as a mercurial player – at times locked in and controlling games, at others seemingly disinterested. A big reason for his success in New Orleans is he’s healthy. After missing the first 13 games with a core muscle injury, Rondo played in 65 regular-season games, starting 63.
And he thrives under the playoff lights.
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry mused about Rondo’s playoff aptitude before Game 1.
”I think that anyone, if you go back to last year and you watched the Chicago team, what he meant to that team, they went in there and won two games in Boston when Boston was really good,” Gentry said. ”And I think there is a sense of confidence that he has, especially this time of the year.”
Rondo played a major role in the Pelicans’ 97-95 victory in Portland on Saturday night. He tied a franchise record with 17 assists, grabbed eight rebounds and stymied Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum with his defense.
Anthony Davis, who was on the receiving end of many of those assists and finished with 35 points in the game, said Rondo took charge of the game.
”He’s just in a different mode,” Davis said.
The Trail Blazers certainly noticed that.
Rondo was in Chicago last year when Playoff Rondo emerged. After an up-and-down season, he played well in the first game of the team’s opening series against the Celtics. But he was particularly good in Game 2 Roberto Luongo Jersey , just missing a triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds as the Bulls put Boston in an 0-2 hole. Just as important was his defense on Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.
But he broke his thumb in that second game and was ruled out indefinitely before Game 3. Chicago went on to drop the series to the Celtics.
The Pelicans brought Rondo in hoping he would run the offense and boost Jrue Holiday in the shooting guard position. In the process, Rondo has developed extraordinary chemistry with Davis – and Holiday has had one of the best seasons of his career.
After DeMarcus Cousins injured his Achilles on Jan. 26, New Orleans shifted to more of an up-tempo offense and the change suited Rondo’s ability to push the pace. He had 13 of his double-digit assist games in the 31 games he played after Cousins went out.
Rondo averaged 8.2 points and 8.2 assists this year and finished the regular season with 15 double-doubles and two triple-doubles.
Gentry has been impressed with what he’s seen.
”He’s a really bright player. One of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around,” the coach said. ”I had the opportunity to coach Steph, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Grant Hill. When you start talking about the extremely smart players, he’s one of those guys. I also think he has a way of giving confidence to the other guys. He makes them believe in themselves.”
After helping Davis notch his first playoff career victory, Rondo has the Pelicans believing there is more where that one came from.
The Atlanta Hawks are using a high-tech virtual tour to give current and potential season ticket holders a glimpse of their renovated arena.
With Philips Arena currently undergoing major renovations, the Hawks recently launched ”The Preview,” an interactive tour of the transformed arena in downtown Atlanta located between Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Centennial Olympic Park. The tour was opened about a month ago while the arena is currently in the final phase of its $192.5 million renovation.
Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said there is no other experience like the preview center in the NBA.
Thousands of potential suite and seat buyers have already taken the tour held in a 2,500-square-foot space, which is located on CNN Center property. The tour is promoting the revamped arena on several large 70-inch screens as a premiere entertainment venue for basketball games, concerts and events.
Ticket holders in the suites http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/erik-swoope-jersey , cabanas or verandas don’t just use them for Hawks games, the tickets are good for all events at Philips Arena – with food and beverages all included. But the Hawks home games are the primary hook.
”It’s going to be a social place unlike anywhere else in the NBA,” Koonin said. ”All of our research told us that people don’t want to sit down in a chair eating a hot dog out of aluminum foil and watch a game. They want a great night out. … Think Vegas pool meets sporting event.”
”The Preview” offers a before-and-after look at the various amenities from the 360-degree concourse, rapper Killer Mike’s barber shop, Zac Brown’s BBQ restaurant, fantasy golf area, club lounge and premium seating areas with couches and cabanas. The tour, which the Hawks dub as somewhat of a ”Disney ride,” also provides a look at the new state-of-the-art video board system, which is three times larger than the current one.
The Hawks will continue to operate it once the arena renovations are complete, they have three-year lease for the space.
Koonin said team officials know they have much work to do.
Despite the Hawks’ on-the-court struggles this past season, the franchise hopes to claim some victory off it. The team went 24-58 and missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons.
Koonin said they are taking a new business approach to enhance the fan experience beyond any game or event. The courtside club featuring the Hawks Bar in the premium seating area several rows behind the basketball goal was a part of the arena’s phase one transformation.
”I love that they’re not letting it sit around,” said Atlanta-based attorney Randy Kessler, who has been a Hawks season-ticket holder since the arena opened in 1999. He hasn’t been on ”The Preview” tour, but he’s seen images of the new arena.
”I love that they are not just thinking of on-the-court experience Reggie White Jersey , but off it,” Kessler added. ”You should feel special once you walk in, and I did. I thought last year’s improvements were good. Even though the team was terrible, the experience was still great. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.”
Koonin said the Hawks realize with their recent on-court performance they have to continue to work in order to win over fans.
He said the team spent millions of dollars to build the preview center and partnered with a Seattle-based design firm Hornall Anderson to create the virtual tour.
Philips Area is expected to reopen in October, but Koonin said the team will keep the tour going on for the next couple years. The arena might be one of the smallest-capacity NBA venues with 17,600 seats.
Sales centers are not unique to the NBA and several teams with new arenas have given fans an insight to what they can expect in the new facilities, including Sacramento, Milwaukee and Golden State.
Koonin said Hawks officials visited other arena preview centers including Sacramento and the NFL stadium in Minnesota. He said there is no other experience like ”The Preview” in the NBA, but the Hawks are still missing one thing – championships.
Golden State ”has one thing that’s very powerful that I wish we had: A bunch of recent Larry O’Brien trophies and rings,” he said. ”We have to work a little harder.”
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