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Monday, May 9, 2011
Banged-up Rondo keeps Celtics afloat
BOSTON — His left arm wrapped in a sleeve and dangling lifelessly by his side, Rajon Rondo broke for the basket and sailed past LeBron James for a layup.
The dislocated elbow and stiff back weren't going to stop him.
Rondo still had one good arm — and his legs.
The Celtics point guard had 11 assists in the game and a pair of one-armed baskets in the fourth quarter on Saturday night to lead Boston to a 97-81 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"He showed he's a really tough young individual," said Kevin Garnett, who had 28 points and 18 rebounds — more than he had in the first two games combined. "I don't know what he's going to be like when he's 35, but right now he's playing pretty well."
Miami leads the best-of-seven series 2-1, with Game 4 on Monday night in Boston.
Paul Pierce scored 27 for the defending East champions, who managed to avoid a 3-0 hole that no NBA team has ever overcome. But they came out of it with injuries to both point guards: Coach Doc Rivers said Rondo's future availability is in question, and Delonte West had his bruised left shoulder wrapped at the end of the game.
"The playoffs are here. This is what it's about: Bruises, whatever, you've got to keep on going," West said. "I think that light clicked on for us today."
Dwyane Wade had 23 points and seven assists, and Joel Anthony continued to contribute off the bench, scoring 12 with 11 rebounds. Playing in the building where his Cleveland career came to an end, spurring his free agency defection to Miami, James scored 15 points as he and Wade combined to make just 14 of 35 shots from the floor.
Wade was also the one who fouled Rondo in the third quarter as the two got tangled up and crashed to the court. Rondo landed awkwardly on his left arm; he had to be helped to his feet and led from the floor while team Dr. Brian McKeon immobilized Rondo's arm.
But even as the Celtics were announcing that Rondo had a dislocated left elbow, he was back on the bench. He returned for the start of the fourth and — despite playing with his left arm dangling at his side — provided the Celtics with the spark they had been missing in the first two games.
"We understand fully now how tough it is to take down a champion," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "All this fuel, the last three days, that was going on, I was cringing. Because you know this is a proud group, and you knew they would have a response."
Grizzlies rally to win
Memphis Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies are finding a little desperation can carry them a long way.
How far? That remains to be seen, but they sure keep finding ways to win.
Zach Randolph had 21 points and a franchise-record 21 rebounds, and the Grizzlies rallied from a 16-point deficit to stun the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-93 in overtime Saturday and grab a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
The Grizzlies are trying to do something no NBA team has done in climbing from the No. 8 seed all the way to the Western Conference finals. They moved two wins away from that by remaining undefeated on their home court this postseason.
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins knows his Grizzlies were fortunate, but says that's the NBA playoffs.
"In order to go further, you always have to be in games where you've got to do something miraculous in order to win the game," Hollins said. "I thought this was miraculous the way we fought back after being down 16, and it was a super win. And like I said, by the grace of God we were fortunate to come out on top."
The Grizzlies did it with an amazing comeback in a game they couldn't have looked more out of synch early, but scored the first six points of overtime to finish off the victory. Guard Mike Conley said the Grizzlies just didn't come with effort the first three quarters.
"I think once we looked up at the clock and saw how many points we were down, a little bit of desperation hit," Conley said. "We were like, 'Man, we cannot lose this game.' And guys amped up their game, made some changes here and there, and we were able to just be scrappy and play our game."