Rondo might be able to begin season against Raptors

Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

LOS ANGELES -- Rajon Rondo went through a full-court, five-on-five drill Saturday as part of the final progression in his rehabilitation from a mild calf strain. The Los Angeles Lakers did not have an official practice, but Rondo worked with a combination of teammates and assistant coaches.

Although there is hope that he will play Sunday when the Lakers face the Toronto Raptors, it will depend on how his body reacts to Saturday's workout.

Rondo has missed the first eight games of the Lakers' season with the injury. Rondo had an MRI two weeks ago that confirmed the Lakers' suspicions that he had suffered a mild calf strain.

In Rondo's absence, the Lakers have been using a combination of guards to run their offense. LeBron James functions as the point guard in their starting lineup, playing alongside guards Danny Green and Avery Bradley, center JaVale McGee and power forward Anthony Davis.

The Lakers also use Quinn Cook and Alex Caruso to run the point at times. Once Rondo does return, the Lakers hope he will alleviate the burden placed on James to run the offense and thus limit the amount of wear and tear on him. Coach Frank Vogel has said in the past that he plans to start Rondo a fair amount during the season.

"He'll be a huge help," Vogel said Oct. 24. "He's a huge part of what we hope to be this year. I've always wanted to coach him specifically, but I've always asked for guys like him, I always ask my point guards to really quarterback the action out there on the floor and be a coach on the floor, and he's one of the best ever to do it. He's going to give us a big lift."


Defense excels

Friday night's game against the Miami Heat was another low-scoring affair and perhaps the Lakers' best defensive performance of the season.

They held the Heat to 80 points, in part because Miami made only six of 35 three-point attempts. Miami is typically one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league, making 37.8% from long range.

"We want to be a good defense team," Davis said. "That team scores 115, I think, or something like that, a game. We knew they were coming off a back-to-back. We just wanted to make them make shots. They had some good looks they missed, but for the most part we wanted to run them off the line."


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