Rajon Rondo after trade: My love for Celtics fans is ‘unmatched’

A reflective Rajon Rondo took to Twitter late Thursday night.
 
 
Rondo, who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks hours before, professed his love for the Boston Celtics organization and its fans through a series of tweets. The All-Star point guard spent the first eight-plus years of his career in Boston, winning an NBA championship in 2008.
Rondo now will join the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons and Monta Ellis with the hopes of bringing a title to Dallas. It’s clear he’ll never forget the time he spent in Boston, though, even if it involved both highs and lows.

My time in Boston has meant so much. I’ve grown up with this city both as a basketball player and person. The love I have for the most loyal
— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 19, 2014

And supportive fans in the league is unmatched. My teammates have shown nothing but heart the last couple of seasons.
— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 19, 2014

They are some of the hardest working guys I have played

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Grizzlies Players Pool Money to Buy Team Assistant New Car After His Was Stolen

It’s the season of giving, and players on the Memphis Grizzlies stepped up to help one of their own. 

One of the Grizzlies team assistants, Brandon, recently had his car stolen, so the players teamed up and got him a brand new ride: 

As you can see, Brandon was touched by the players’ generosity, and everyone involved was feeling the emotion of the moment:

Kudos to the Grizzlies for taking care of their own. This is what the holiday season is all about. 

[Instagram, h/t Twitter

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2014-15 NBA Power Rankings: How Every Team Stacks Up After 7 Weeks of Action

That rumbling you’re feeling beneath your feet? That’s just the NBA landscape shifting during the heart of the holiday season.

The Dallas Mavericks scored an early Christmas gift—or a timely one for Hanukkah, in the case of team owner Mark Cuban—by reeling in Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics. On the flip side, the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat all stumbled upon lumps of coal in their stockings, in the form of injuries to Andrew Bogut, Jabari Parker, Josh McRoberts and Chris Bosh.

The Association should see plenty more gift-giving, White Elephant and otherwise, in the weeks to come now that every player who signed a new contract over the summer can be traded. The continued separation between buyers and sellers on the court and on the market figures to facilitate that activity, as well.

But before we get caught up in too many holiday metaphors (we’ll save some of those for next week), let’s take some time to rank the NBA from top to bottom, based on how each team is doing and what sort of roster each is working with.

Click here for last week’s edition.

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Warriors hold off Thunder after Durant injury

Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Kevin Durant sprains right ankle

      
 

 

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Thunder Future Uncertain After Kevin Durant Injury and Other Thursday Takeaways

Everything had been going so well.

The Oklahoma City Thunder came into Thursday night’s 114-109 loss to the Golden State Warriors riding a seven-game winning streak. More importantly, it was reigning MVP Kevin Durant‘s eighth consecutive game after returning from a fractured foot earlier this month.

Now, both streaks appear to be finished.

After becoming the first player since 1976′s ABA-NBA merger to tally at least 30 points in fewer than 20 minutes, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (h/t ESPN.com’s Royce Young), Durant left the game in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle and didn’t return.

Russell Westbrook‘s 33 points and eight assists weren’t enough in his absence, not on a night when Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 53 points.

For the moment, however, losing to a hot team like the Warriors is the least of head coach Scott Brooks’ concerns. The possibility of having to spend more time without a four-time scoring champion is the bigger problem.

Fortunately, X-rays offered encouraging news, and the organization has thus far described the sprain as “mild.”

That may be sufficient reason for optimism in the context of most clubs, but the 12-14 Thunder are a different situation. This team would almost certainly rank alongside Golden State among 2014-15′s early front-runners were it not for a November sabotaged by serious injuries to Durant and Westbrook.

In turn, Oklahoma City’s margin for error between now and the postseason remains fairly thin.

It may be difficult to imagine teams like the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans or Sacramento Kings outlasting OKC over the course of a marathon 82-game season, but anything can happen given enough bad luck.

This time, Durant rolled his ankle after stepping on Marreese Speights’ foot—the kind of wrong place, wrong time injury no one could have anticipated. He stayed down on the court for a few moments before teammates helped him return to the bench. Now Oklahoma City can only hope a little rest and treatment do the trick as quickly as possible.

One would imagine Durant will miss Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, but there’s really no telling how much longer his recovery will take. OKC could find itself tested several times before month’s end by meetings against the San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns.

With Durant, those are all winnable games.

Without him, the Thunder’s sub-.500 season may get a bit worse before getting much, much better.

 

Around the Association

Rondo Tells Boston Goodbye

After multiple reports indicating on Thursday that four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo was on his way to the Dallas Mavericks via trade, the ninth-year veteran had some words for his fans and the Boston Celtics on Twitter.

And while the Mavericks are already pretty good, it may well take something special to outlast the other elite teams out West.

 

Butler Drops Career High on Knicks

The Chicago Bulls beat the now 5-23 New York Knicks by a final score of 103-97 in a contest played without superstars Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony, who were ill and injured, respectively.

The difference was that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau had another star to whom he could turn. Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points while tallying seven assists, five rebounds and four steals—adding yet another well-rounded performance to his impressive season. Through 23 appearances, the 25-year-old is averaging 21.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest.

“All I can say is thank God for Jimmy Butler,” Thibodeau told reporters after the game. “You can’t say enough about him.”

Chances are plenty more will be said anyway before season’s end.

 

Cousins Returns from Viral Meningitis

Star Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins returned to the floor after a bout with a serious sickness, and there doesn’t appear to be much rust. The Kentucky product led Sacramento with 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists en route to a narrow 108-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Kings were just 2-8 without Cousins in action and have now lost five straight games.

 

Pelicans Scrapping in December

Already without Eric Gordon, the New Orleans Pelicans were also missing swingman Tyreke Evans (knee contusion) against the 19-6 Houston Rockets.

It didn’t matter.

Anthony Davis accrued 30 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and five blocks as the Pels prevailed by a 99-90 margin. The win takes New Orleans to a 13-12 record, its first time above .500 since late November. 

All things considered, that’s not bad. The Pelicans are 6-4 this month, and the four losses were understandable. Two came to the Warriors, one to the Mavericks and the other against the Los Angeles Clippers. Three of those games were on the road.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the month won’t be much easier with meetings against the Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls coming along with two games against the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs. One way or another, we’ll learn a lot about this team by the end of December.

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Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder holds his ankle as his teammates check to see if he is okay after he twisted his ankle towards the end of the first half of their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 18, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had 34 points and nine assists, and the Golden State Warriors rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat Oklahoma City 114-109 on Thursday night after Thunder star Kevin Durant left with a sprained right ankle.


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Warriors’ Bogut out indefinitely after PRP therapy (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 2: Andrew Bogut #12 of Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Orlando Magic on December 2, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Just as they have the past two seasons, the Golden State Warriors will have to get by without center Andrew Bogut for an undetermined amount of time.


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Irving works on shot after loss

In Irving’s past seven games, he’s shooting 37.6% from the field and 20% on threes.

      
 

 

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Dick Vitale Dubs Himself ‘Disco Dick’ After Dancing with Shockers Cheerleaders

He is Disco Dick. His arsenal of moves is unfathomable.

Dick Vitale slipped into his hip-swinging alter ego Tuesday night while dancing with Wichita State Shockers cheerleaders. The transformation occurred during a break in the action of Alabama’s near-upset of No. 11 Wichita State. 

CBS Sports’ John Breech (h/t Busted Coverage’s Joe Kinsey) recorded a Vine of Vitale’s moves for posterity’s sake. This is elemental Vitale. His canteen of cares dried up in ’87:

The sportscaster would later add to his career night by dubbing himself “Disco Dick” over social media: 

He also led the Shockers band:

Vitale couldn’t thank Wichita State enough for its kindness: 

It’s Disco Dick time, people. It’s no longer “time to rage” or “time to get after it.” Party time is henceforth “Disco Dick Time.” Adjust your lexicon and social calendar accordingly. 

 

It’s always “Disco Dick o’clock” somewhere.

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Kings meet privately with Mark Jackson after game

After calling the game courtside for ESPN, Jackson had a meeting with team officials.

      
 

 

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