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CELTICS BEATWhen it comes to shooting, the last thing an NBA player wants to do is think. Particularly to a man in a slump, a mind is a terrible thing.

So it was that Rajon Rondo fiddled with his free throw release after Tuesday's practice. He might have said he wasn't concerned, but he'd missed nine straight coming into last night's game against Golden State. And when he clanged another and failed to complete a three-point play in the second quarter, the streak was at 11 and the NBA record of 13 consecutive misses, held by Chris Dudley, was in sight.

The Celtics guard ended the madness by finding the strings with 4:28 left in the third quarter of the eventual 109-95 victory. That he went on to miss his last two - leaving him in a run of 1-for-13 - didn't seem to disconcert him.

``It's miss or make,'' said Rondo, who clearly has struggled trying to remake his shooting mechanics. ``I really don't care. It's not life or death.''

At this point, Kevin Garnett walked past.

``Man, quit lying,'' he said.

In truth, Garnett was just busting on his Basketball brother. We know this because a short time earlier when asked about the Celts' sudden burst of energy in the third quarter, he had a one word answer.

``Rondo,'' KG said. ``I thought he changed the momentum of the game. I thought he was a lot more solid than the first half. He consolidated the ball. He was aggressive. He picked up the energy, started picking up full-court. He just changed the whole momentum. I just think he set the tone for the second half.''

At halftime, the Celtics were ahead 49-48 on an injury depleted team playing its fifth straight game on the road and the second of a back-to-back (the Warriors were in Cleveland on Tuesday). Damn the one-game-at-a-time garbage; a loss here would have counted as two.

But Rondo pretty much took defeat off the table with 12 points, three rebounds and four assists in the third quarter as the C's went up by 13.

He finished with 18, seven and 12, tying his season high for points. He hadn't had 18 points since Nov. 4 in Minnesota, ironically the last time he hit a free throw until last night.

Rondo kick-started the slumbering Celtics the best way he knew how: quickly.

``He's got to play on his instincts, and his speed always had to be the deciding factor,'' coach Doc Rivers said. ``He's one of the rare players in our league that can play at great speed and stay under control and see everything. Most players can't do that, and he can.

``We told them before the game they're going to switch a lot. And if Rondo came off with enough speed, it didn't matter if they switched. They couldn't stay in front of him. And he did that in the second half. He was terrific.

``When he plays like that, we're really good.''

When he plays like that, he doesn't stop to think about the perpendicularity of his shooting elbow. That might be why he canned his first trey of the season after three misses.

``I mean, I've just got to shoot it,'' Rondo said of his overall release. ``It'll come. You know, I've been one way my entire life. It doesn't matter. I've got to keep shooting the ball.

``I'm going to keep attacking the rim. I think I'm averaging like eight layups a game, so I'm not shying away from the rim. I'm going to keep attacking. I'm going to keep going to the line.''

As he was finishing up his postgame discussion, Warriors center and former teammate Mikki Moore happened by. He, too, had an interjection to offer.

``That might be the only person that can average a triple-double in the league this year,'' Moore said.

As long as he doesn't think about it.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 20, 2009


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