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Celtics notebook

Technically, Rondo keeps improving

By Frank Dell'Apa
Globe Staff / December 2, 2008
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Rajon Rondo posted a double-double (16 points, 12 assists) and also earned a technical foul in the Celtics' 107-88 win over the Orlando Magic last night.

Asked why he received the technical, Rondo replied, "I don't know. Everyone got a technical."

There were eight technicals issued - five to the Celtics (Sam Cassell had two, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins one each), and three to the Magic (coach Stan Van Gundy, Dwight Howard, and Rashard Lewis).

Rondo was probably the least likely to receive one, though, since he had only one previous technical (last season), and has been opening eyes with his play.

"I think Rondo is doing a great job pushing the ball, finding the open guy," Paul Pierce said. "He's causing havoc, getting into the paint. When he's doing things like that, our offense is really unstoppable.

"He's just constantly getting layups or constantly finding guys. His assists are up, his turnovers are down, and he's just improving right before our eyes."

Cassell, who has yet to play a minute for the Celtics in either the preseason or regular season, was ejected with 4:40 remaining in the first half, after he contested a call by official David Guthrie, who had whistled a foul on Perkins.

"I told him he took a bullet for me," coach Doc Rivers said. "Because I thought it was on me and I wasn't saying anything, so I was upset.

"I think they were trying to clean the game up," Rivers said. "There was a lot of complaining going on. Unfortunately, when that's happening, the first guy who talks gets the tech. And Sam was that guy."

Magic moments for Rivers

Rivers moved to Orlando to coach the Magic in 2000, and his ties to the area remain strong, though he was fired in 2004.

"Great memories," Rivers said. "I won Coach of the Year, we made the playoffs every year but one. The end wasn't great - we were struggling, we were banged up. But you think about the injuries we had - you take Kevin [Garnett] off the team for three years and still make the playoffs, and that's what we did. That's what got me a job."

After the Celtics won the NBA championship last season, Rivers brought the O'Brien Trophy to his home.

"I did have it for a couple days," Rivers said. "I set it at the breakfast table. I didn't have a party or anything. I just had it in the house, because I wanted to look at it and be very close to it. Because I had refused to touch it - I had been in the room with it a lot, I just didn't think you should touch it unless you win it.

"Those are neat moments. Every time I see it - I keep calling it 'that thing,' you know what I mean? - it has an emotional effect when you see it. The great thing about it is that it can never be taken away."

Keeping a healthy distance

Reserve guard Gabe Pruitt remained out with an illness. "If someone is sick with a virus, I don't want him around the other guys," Rivers said. . . . J.R. Giddens scored a game-high 34 points and Bill Walker chipped in 14 but it wasn't enough as the Utah Flash fell to the visting Bakersfield Jam, 102-100, in an NBDL game last night.

Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at fdellapa@globe.com.

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