Celtics Overtime: Rajon Rondo's Improving Shot And The Stiemroller

Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors, 81-73, in an exhibition.

What a long preseason, huh? Two games and we're already done. Due to the limited amount of time we had to see players in action, it's tough to judge the level of play that we saw from the 17 players on the Celtics' roster. Alas, we can only go with what we were given, and there certainly were players who stuck out.

Rajon Rondo Is His Same Old Flashy Self (Plus More?)

What's gotten into Rajon Rondo? The Celtics' flashy point guard was at his usual tricks again on Wednesday night, dishing out pretty passes here and there to impress the crowd. He did something else, too -- he made his jumpers. I know, shocking. Rondo finished the game 6-of-10 from the field with a team-high 17 points. Is this a new trend? Probably not, considering he did so against the Raptors. However, you have to think that Rondo has been putting time into his shot. If not, that would be irresponsible. If Rondo does develop a consistent jumper, he will finally reach superstar status.

Jermaine O'Neal, Brandon Bass Making Strong Impressions

If anyone had said that Jermaine O'Neal would be one of the best looking Celtics through this stage of the preseason, I'm pretty sure we'd have laughed at the notion. I know I certainly would have. Nevertheless, O'Neal has been nothing but consistent through this stage of the preseason and training camp. On Wednesday night, O'Neal had four blocks in 12 minutes before being lifted in favor of Greg Stiemsma and Chris Wilcox. O'Neal also had eight points, two blocks and three rebounds in the team's preseason opener against Toronto on Sunday. As Doc Rivers said, JO is the camp MVP.

Brandon Bass has also been extremely impressive in the three games that fans and the media have seen in the past week. Bass scored 13 points in the Celtics' open scrimmage and followed it up with a solid performance on Sunday (nine points, five rebounds, three steals, two blocks). On Wednesday, Bass finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Bass brings a unique skill set to the Celtics -- he's a big man who has legitimate range. He's just as comfortable taking a mid-range jumper as he is taking the ball to the basket. That will come in handy for the Celtics this season off the bench.

Greg Stiemsma Proves Enough To Stick Around (For Now)

Greg Stiemsma has certainly been a pleasant surprise so far. The C's camp invitee (who played in the NBA D-League last season) scored the game-winning basket with 12 seconds left on Sunday and had seven points and a pair of blocks for the Celtics on Wednesday. Now, again, we've only seen a small sample size from Stiemsma, but it's been solid. Stiemsma certainly has done enough to keep himself around on the roster, at least for now. He likely won't be cut before the start of the season, but don't expect him to stick around all season unless he makes the best of the minutes he gets.

Bottom Line: Two games, two wins and plenty of bright spots. The Celtics have a good amount of talent on their team, but getting everyone to click and play at their fullest potential is the tricky part. If the C's can reach that potential, they could have something really good going for them. If they can't, then there isn't much hope of winning a title this season.

Next Up: This time, it's for real. With the preseason now in the rear-view mirror, the Celtics turn their attention to the season opener against the New York Knicks at noon EDT on Christmas Day in New York City (TV/Radio: TNT/WEEI).

For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, CelticsBlog.

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