Wednesday, October 22, 2014
This has been Sully's team, or until Rondo returns. Sully has only begun in my book. Sully needs to remain consistent on the boards, and in the scoring department. If he can rebound 12 boards a game, and if he can score 16-18 a night. That's what you want if your Boston.
Thanks to CLNS for the video!
Sullinger sounds like a leader, and it has been nice to see. The Celtics will deal with a rough stretch in the schedule to start the season. But Sully sounds like a guy who doesn't care about the struggle.
Thanks to CLNS Radio for the video
The Boston Celtics ended the preseason with a solid 5-3 record. Now they can play games that matter. The preseason matters, but not when it comes to wins and losses. The preseason gives guys confidence, as we've seen with Sully. It also helps build chemistry between players, and it allows the coach to get a feel for the roster.
Sullinger pulled in 17 boards Wednesday night. He also scored 15 points. Sully had 19 boards in his last game, and it looks like Sully wants to become the next Kevin Love. Jared's time is now if he's going to take the big leap into star power. He's put in the work, and at the end of the day Rondo may have a sidekick this season.
“I grew up with pressure,” Sullinger said. “I’ve got an older brother named James that puts a lot of pressure on me. My older brother Julian, he puts the most pressure on me. I’m used to pressure. Pressure either is going to make you or break you. Just got to go with it.”
“I think he’s gotten better,” coach Brad Stevens said. “He’s worked hard to improve his skill. He’s worked hard to do a lot of things, especially on the defensive end of the floor that he’s just improved from a technique standpoint.”
Sully has come, and has put the Celtics on his back. Rondo's out for a little longer, and Sully wants to be the go-to guy with Rondo, or the guy that Rondo feeds all night long. When it comes to the Celtics season. I see them as a dark horse in the East. Because it is the Eastern Conference. Anything can happen in a weak conference. Rondo is poised to play close to a full season, and he's in a contract year. I could see him carrying the Celtics into the postseason. The Celtics have skilled players, and players that may play better than expected. Evan Turner has already proven that he may shock some people.
The Celtics 5-3 record doesn't mean much, but at least it wasn't 3-5. Winning in the preseason isn't everything, but the Celtics did show that the chemistry is better this season. Will it translate into wins? That's the question that will be answered soon..
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Gary Tanguay is a guy that you put on TV to get ratings, because he makes little sense, and because he provides shock value. Gary has been known to bash Rondo, and of course he's been calling for a Rondo trade for years. Tanguay actually makes some sense in one piece of his wave of bullshit.
"No, he's not LeBron James or Kevin Durant or even Tony Parker because he doesn't have their scoring ability. But he's so damn good at everything else that he can come extremely close to making up for that deficiency."
I agree, Rondo is so damn good that his weakness wouldn't hurt him from reaching LeBron, and Durant level. Rondo isn't that bad on the offensive end as Gary suggests, but Rondo is a unique player, and that's something that he's proven. The recent reality that is Rondo is real simple. Rondo hasn't played real basketball for awhile. The real Rondo hasn't played since the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Rondo's only played in around 68 games since that point. Rondo's basically only played in 68 games in a possible 164.
Rondo's had two lost seasons to some degree. Now Rondo should return by opening night. With the hope that he can play at least 75 games if not 80 games. The talent level isn't in Boston right now, so Rondo's leadership will be tested. We can't truly grade Rondo yet. He has yet to put together a full season in two years. It feels weird that Rondo hasn't been Rondo since the East Finals. So, I have a hard time hearing Rondo trash talk.
He's entering his prime, and it's simple. Until Rondo gives you a full season again. You can't write him off.
It was nice to see Scal step up for Rondo against Tanguay today ...
On Rajon Rondo:“I think he’s a fantastic player. I think he’s very bright. He is the smartest player I’ve ever played with. He understands the game on a higher level. Does he have his moments that are difficult, like if you had to coach him? I would say yes. His relationship with Doc Rivers was fine. Don’t think it wasn’t. Rajon Rondo is a great player.”Tanguay brought up the usual arguments against Rondo - that he's not consistent, that you don't max a non-scorer, that he's a liability late in games, etc.. Scal pretty much disposed of all that by agreeing that no one is perfect. Significantly, Scal made a point that I've not seen anywhere other than here: that smaller players might not be able to dominate as consistently as bigger players, and have to pick and choose more. I think that is obviously true. In a game that is built for tall people, shorter and smaller people have to use energy, speed and effort to make up for lack of height and girth, and that just takes more out of you. The way I remember it, Isiah Thomas was every bit as good a player as Bird, Jordan, Johnson, etc., but he didn't tend to carry his team night in and night out quite the way those bigger guys did. He picked his spots more. Rondo does the same. Even so, every Rondo fan will agree with the Haters that Rondo needs to be more consistent, needs bring it on D more, needs to play at a higher tempo more offense more (and probably needs shorter rests more often, if you ask me); the problem with the Haters is that they can't seem to see the forest for the trees. Scal is blunt - Rondo is a great player, a stud, and those are the players that win you championships. Couldn't say it better myself. But I can prescribe watching this video...
All this is from last season, when according to Haters Rondo was crapola. Watch the way this supposedly washed up scrub, Rondo, literally toys with opposing defenses. As I've said many times, it's like watching Bobby Orr sometimes. Often Rondo seems to have every opposing player on a string, and at the same time, he knows exactly where each of his guys is. The classic Rondo play ends up with a guy literally dropping the ball in the basket like he's dropping a sock in the laundry, because Rondo has befuddled the defense so completely.
Scal also points out what we here have pointed out many times; Rondo has never had the luxury of a Big Man who can finish. Yeah, he had KG, but KG didn't like being around the basket that much. He had Shaq at the tail end of his career and he made Shaq look like he was still a force. He had Wilcox, and he made Wilcox look big time. For God's sake, Danny, find a serious rolling Big Man for Rondo, as Scal suggests! As I understand it, Scal is saying that if you have a hard rolling big man to play pick and roll with Rondo, and guys who can stretch the floor to spot up for threes, you'd have an unstoppable offense, and I think Scalabrine is right about that.
Scal thinks that Rondo and Smart will be able to coexist just fine. I hope so. He also thinks that Stevens and Rondo are very much on the same page with each other. I hope he's right there too. This season could be a lot of fun if all that is true and Rondo has the big year we are all hoping for....
Monday, October 20, 2014
I got the feeling that Rondo may return by opening night, or on opening night. Stevens sounds optimistic about Rondo's return for the first game of the season.
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said there's a possibility that Rajon Rondo could be ready for game action on opening night later this month, but the point guard cautioned against setting a firm timeline while he recovers from a fractured left hand.
Stevens believes he'll be back, but Rondo is being a bit more cautious, or just playing it safe.
"I don’t know. I still haven’t had any contact yet," Rondo said when asked about the potential to play on opening night. "The opener is a little bit over a week away. I don’t want to set goals; I just want to go as my hand heals."
"It doesn’t bother me at all when I dribble the ball, catch the ball," said Rondo. "But it’s night and day from trying to brace myself hitting the floor or going into the lane and somebody smacks my hand."
This is great either way. Rondo will be back sooner than expected.
Celticsblog has a pretty good piece on Rondo today. The gist was this:
Great players are incredibly hard to find in the NBA. You have to get lucky somehow - in the draft, free agency, what have you - to land even one of them. Assembling two or three of them in order to become a contender? Sometimes seems like it takes a miracle. When you get a transcendent talent in the fold, you do what you can to keep it. That's how this league works. And the Celtics, bless their hearts, understand that principle better than anyone.
Russell. Cousy. Havlicek. Cowens. Bird. McHale. Pierce. All were Celtics their entire careers, save for a couple of brief blips in the final seasons. More or less Boston lifers. Who's to say Rondo can't be the next?
Obviously he's seen better days in Boston than the ones he's enduring in 2014, but Rondo could pull through. ...
So if you're one of those people who's ready to move on from Rondo, I have to ask you - where's your perspective? Can't you look back and remember all the great things the Celtics accomplished in their history, and how all of them began by having a franchise player in place? Can't you look past a couple of losing seasons and see the bigger picture? To give up now, well... it just seems to run counter to everything the franchise is about.
Thank god someone in the commentariat finally brings this up. Yes. Athletes are NOT just 'pieces' or 'assets'. I thought we Celtics fans understood that better than most, but in recent years, it hasn't seemed that way. Danny treats players - whether journeymen or future HOFers - like trading cards, and most fans and commentators seem not only fine with that, but actually celebrate that. Churn churn churn. The Ainge Express runs day and night. I thought it was beautiful when Rondo pointed out on media day, indirectly, that loyalty is a two way street. I'd like to see fans back Rondo up on that. Let's slow down the Ainge Express.
As CelticsBlog points out, many Celtics greats have had to endure down years. Russell and Bird are really the only ones who escaped this fate. Cousy's career started out tough. Havlicek. Pierce and Cowens had to battle through multiple losing seasons after being on the top (briefly in Pierce's case). In Cowens' case, the dark years were especially tough. Auerbach got into contract disputes with Havlicek and Silas, if memory serves, and started tearing the team apart. Then ownership changed and Auerback almost left as guys like Macadoo, Wickes and Rowe were brought on board - great players, but not right for a team led by Big Red Cowens. Cowens even took a sabbatical before coming back and giving his all in one of the Cs' alltime worst seasons. Then Bird came and Cowens successfully lent his efforts to building a bridge into a new winning era for the Celtics. Loyalty meant so much back then. Where is it now? Now we have a GM who claims that the Celtics should have dealt Bird and Mchale, when they got old, and a fandom/commentariat that seems all too willing to buy into that myth.
Loyalty doesn't mean everything, but loyalty does matter. If Rondo shows this season that he is willing to reassert himself on the defensive end, then it's time for Danny to give him a no-trade contract, and it's time for the fandom to call for this.
Today, CelticsBlog got it right.
This discussion of Kobe Bryant is interesting in connection with the topic of the value of loyalty to players. The Lakers are taken to task for not dumping Kobe, since Kobe, we are told, is responsible for chasing off top free agents, such as Dwight Howard.
The Lakers meeting took place in Beverly Hills on July 2 in the modernist, windowless conference room at Relativity Media -- the offices of Howard's agent. Kupchak, Howard's closest ally on the team, prepped the Lakers' pitch. One big point: Listen carefully. Another: Dress appropriately. "Our approach," a Lakers source explained at the time, "is that we are interviewing for the job. We want to show that this is a place his dreams can come true."
As the Lakers' contingent settled into the conference room's ergonomic chairs, it was clear that two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, in a nice crisp shirt, listening attentively, was running Kupchak's game plan. But Bryant showed up, according to a person in the room, in "hoops shorts, a T-shirt and a gold chain." He had also packed an attitude.Galleryf Fame CareergesWhen Howard asked why his teammates let the injured center take all the flak when the Lakers' season went south, Nash said he didn't know that Howard had felt that way and that had he known, he would have acted differently. Bryant, on the other hand, offered a crash course in developing thick skin and a mini lecture on learning how to win. Sources told ESPN Insider Chris Broussard that Bryant's lecture was "a complete turnoff" for Howard.
So the Lakers should bag on Kobe, who helped bring them five titles, because he didn't sweet talk Dwight(mare) Howard?!! The article goes on to talk about how the game is supposedly changing, such that ball dominant players are no longer welcome. So let me get this straight: because the Spurs have won every title over the last decade, each time with no dominant players, the game is clearly changing, right? Only, the Spurs have not dominated to such an extent, and when they did dominant, Duncan was the best player in the game. Yet many fans and commentators will no doubt agree that the Lakers should dump one of their alltime greatest players, and the reason - get this - is to attract great players (even though the supposedly evolving game no longer requires great players supposedly)! So being disloyal to Kobe is going to attract other great players to the Lakers?
The arguments against Kobe parallel the arguments made against Rondo. Rondo too, we are told, alienates teammates and makes free agents not want to come to Boston. As far as I am concerned, those are free agents and teammates we don't need. They should go, not Rondo. Also, we are told that Rondo should be measured by his willingness to submit to Stevens' system (similar points are made in the Kobe article about Kobe - that one of his faults is not submitting to Dantoni's system). - but if Rondo is a transformational player, which I would say he obviously is - how can he simply fit into someone's system? Great players shape the game. It's not the other way around. Kobe is no saint, but he's one of the game's greats. Rondo may be one of those too. You build around talent like that, whatever it takes.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Jared Sullinger has played at an All-Star level so far in the preseason. Sullinger is coming off of back-to-back 21 point games. Sully grabbed 19 rebounds in 28 minutes Sunday against the Nets, and that could be the biggest key for Sully moving forward. Sully is averaging nearly 15 points in preseason action, and that's not a huge jump from his average last season. That doesn't bother me, because it's the preseason, and I see how well he's played in the three 20 plus point games.
"He was good," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "I want him to play as many minutes as he can right now. It's good for him. He's playing well. Hopefully he can continue."
"He's working hard, a great piece to what we're trying to accomplish," Celtics forward Jeff Green told reporters after the game. "Hopefully he continues to put up numbers like that."
Sullinger did what he had to do for a Boston win Sunday. He grabbed 6 out of Boston's 20 offensive rebounds, and he made three from three-point land. Sully is 22, and this is the year that could help define his career. He could either take a giant leap, or he'll be a solid pro. Either way Sully will be a solid NBA player for years to come.
Maybe the threat of Love put something into Sullinger. Jared has slimmed down a bit, but he still has the size to control the paint.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
The way I read some of the recent positive comments from Rondo about the Celtics and about Brad Stevens is that he is trying very hard to make the best of the situation he is in. I hope it's more than that. From the Herald:
for the second straight year, and probably more this time, Rondo likes the message. Stevens’ mantra is positive and detail-heavy, and Rondo considers it infectious.I believe that Brad Stevens is easy to like - though I would caution Rondo not to think that Steven's likability would prevent Stevens from pushing Rondo under the bus, if that seemed advantageous, much the way that Doc backed away from defending Rondo when Doc began to feel the heat during the (Bob Ryan produced) controversy over Rondo's double digit assist streak in 2012-2013. Even so, this sounds like boilerplate from Rondo, much like Stevens' praise for Rondo has often sounded like boilerplate. What are these guys supposed to say when asked about each other? Until the situation changes, they are tied to each other.
“He’s very positive — the most positive coach I’ve been around in my career, and it’s hard not to play for a guy like that,” Rondo said this week. “That’s every day — not just in the locker room. He’s that way off the court, with his family. He’s a role model. He has all of the characteristics of a great leader. He’s great at what he does. He’s all about the team.”
Will it change? I still think it will. I find a paragraph like this quite ominous:
Not all of the theory connects, either.
“The only thing I don’t like about those [advanced stats] is that they don’t measure your heart,” he said, using a former teammate as an example. “They told me that Big Baby (Glen Davis) shot only 33 percent from the elbow, but I want Big Baby on my team in the playoffs and in crunch time, when I’m in the fight. You can’t tell me Big Baby is all about the shot he’s taking. He’ll take the charge. It’s also about the intangibles.
“Everything depends on how you look at it, who a person is on the court with all of those things. But you can’t measure heart.”
Rondo is more open, though also not sold yet, on the idea of quantifying group chemistry.
“With them, anything is possible,” he said of Stevens’ staff. “If you study teams from the past it varies. Last year you had San Antonio. They put up a stat about how many passes they threw and how many guys touched it. Or you have a team that runs the triangle. Every team varies. I don’t think we passed the ball as much when we were winning. We had great plays, but maybe it was one pass and shot, because you had the players. If not, maybe you have to have more ball movement. You have less talent, you probably have to pass the ball more. When you have a guy like KG (Kevin Garnett) or Paul Pierce, you let them make the plays. You just have to know what you can do as a coach.”
Rondo believes that this is the best part for the Celtics. Stevens has accomplished something that eludes many first-time NBA coaches. His team has bought in.
“The key for any successful team is for everyone to buy in, and he has everyone believing in his plan,” said Rondo. “If we continue to do that, we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
When one watches old film, one can see that Rondo and Big Baby had a very good feel for each other at times. At his best, Baby really was a scrapper, who didn't shy away from mixing things up inside. He was not as consistent as Bass is, but I understand why Rondo would stick up for him. Rondo is also talking good talk about signing onto Stevens' gameplan, but what I notice is that there is no talk of Stevens' signing onto Rondo's gameplan. All this talk about numerically evaluating the number of ball touches makes me a bit sick, as does all this emulation of the Spurs. It's not the game of basketball I love. The stats-obsessed folks are out to destroy the romance of the game, which as far as I am concerned, is the only reason it is interesting. I remember playground days. I remember everyone trying to work out their own unique approach to the game of basketball, their own unique ways of trying to make the most of whatever skills they had. We felt that we were re-creating the game. We weren't trying to perfect already understood skills.
I'm not saying that well thought out strategies are pointless, or that well-considered and detailed statistical analysis is useless, of course. What I don't like is obsession with these things. I don't like suppression of the role of the individual player and elevation of the role of the coach. Specifically, as regards Rondo and the Celtics, it sounds to me like Rondo is being subjected to the group think that has also, I would say, become the dominant group-think around the blogs: that we need to have a no-name style that emphasizes extra passes and ball movement. No matter that we have the best playmaker in the game on our team. Doesn't matter. The way it sounds, the player must be forced to suit the system. Rondo must be forced to bow his head to the Spurs paradigm. And what are they going to do if Lebron wins a title again this year? Are we going to see everyone genuflecting to the star system again?
Rondo made me love basketball again, and it's because of the things about him that the bone-crushing system people seem to hate - Rondo's eccentrically unique personality and his creative approach to the game. We don't need to be taking the ball out of the hands of the best playmaker in the game. What we need from Rondo is tougher defense and faster pace. When you have the best playmaker and the best transition pg in the game, you should give him the ball and fly.
Friday, October 17, 2014
The Celtics earned or saved some money with the latest deal that sent former Heat center Anthony out of Boston for Will Bynum from the motor city.If the Celtics ultimately elect to waive Bynum, the $900,000 savings from the trade would give them additional flexibility with the goal of staying under the tax line this season.
I don't see Bynum staying long for Boston.
Bynum, 31, is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $2.9 million this season, while Anthony, 32, also in the final year of his contract, will earn $3.8 million.
It is unclear exactly what role, if any, the Celtics envision for the veteran guard, who joins a roster that's already stuffed with perimeter players.
"Right now, we're just going to take a deep breath and let the trade go through," said Mark Bartelstein, Bynum's agent. "Danny [Ainge] and I, I'm sure we'll talk and see what makes the most sense for everybody. We're gong to keep an open mind right now and not jump to any conclusions."
It appears that the situation Bynum was dealing with in Detroit - too many guards - is as bad or worse than what he's walking into in Boston.
I don't see Bynum staying long for Boston.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I get the feeling that Rondo will be ready to go opening night, which is about 2 weeks away. This could be Rondo's year, and it's expected to be as he's looking for a new deal. The NBA ranked him as the 37th best player in the league, and that should be some fire under Rondo.
"I’m doing pretty good, my hand is feeling better each day," Rondo said in an interview posted on the team's website. "I’m able to do new things with the ball on the court, just not accepting contact right now. ... It's frustrating. I’m staying in good spirits and, in due time, I’ll play."
"I’m just giving advice when [teammates] need it," Rondo said. "I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes, but when they are out there and they might make a mistake or they’re not sure what to do, I just give them some advice. I let Coach do his job, but at the end of the day, I am the leader and the vet on this team and I try to coach when I need to."
That's right Rondo, and at the end of the day. I believe the best player needs to partner with the coach. But, at the end of the day Rondo is the leader, and Stevens needs to know that and use that. Rondo can understand, and get the players more so than Stevens. They need to share a partnership to make this team work and partnership work.
Jared Sullinger scored a team-high 21 points for Boston while connecting on eight of 10 shots in Boston's 111-91 win over Philly. The Celtics as a team player very well against a sixer team that has been pretty bad since the 2012 season. Jeff Green had 18 points in 31 minutes, as he looked better in his second game back. Marcus Smart missed all four shots he took and was held scoreless, and it's just the case of inconsistent play as a rookie. His defense was great though, and that's Avery Bradley like, or the young version.
The Celtics improve to 3-3 on the exhibition season. The Celtics look better than last seasons version, and it's all without Rondo. I think this tea will be even better with their captain back. Oh, let's not forget the sound game by Turner. Evan finished with 6 points, but he had 10 assists, and he finished with 5 rebounds. I love how he's played so far.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I liked how the Celtics played tonight. They missed a lot of baskets that should have went in, or could have went in. Green is still trying to get his legs back, but in Boston's first play Turner, and Green perfected a pick-and-roll that led to a Green slam. Green finished with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in Boston's 92-89 loss. Marcus Thornton played great off the bench again, leading the Celtics with 17 points in 17 minutes.
I think Thornton is Jordan Crawford all over again, but better. Thornton doesn't need to hold the ball, and he doesn't need to create his own shots. He reminds me of a taller, and bigger Eddie House. Will see if his hot shooting trickles into the season. I think Thornton of course brings great value off the bench, and for the Celtics overall. But I think his value could come in a trade for Boston. He's a playoff teams dream. The Celtics could be a sleeper in the Eastern Conference. But Thornton could be huge for a team right on the verge of a title.
Tyler Zeller had his best game with 13 points, off of 6-of-6 shooting. Evan Turner was solid again with 11 points, 6 assists, and 7 rebounds in 27 minutes. Turner started over Marcus Smart as Green started at small forward in his return. Speaking of Smart, he struggled a bit. He hit a pair of three's, but he had some rookie issues. Smart did hit three big freebies in the 4th to put the Celtics in place to steal this preseason game. The Celtics attempted 30 three's, but they only made 8. Only if a few more had went in. The Celtics may have won this game in Maine.
I agree with Stevens on the fact that it's great to try new things, and to allow your brand to change. On the other hand I hate the experiment that the league will put on the court this Sunday when the Celtics and Nets clash. I personally believe the NBA should cut a commercial or two out to save time, but that's money out of their pocket.. Or the NBA could cut the pregame crap down? Try that first.
"I’m just interested in experiencing it," Stevens said. "We were in our coaches’ meeting and we brought it up briefly in the coaches-only meeting, then we met with everybody else in the NBA. [Nets coach] Lionel [Hollins] and I talked a little bit about it, and we both said, ‘Hey, we’re playing three straight times,’ it’s something that, if we’re both interested in doing it, why not try it?"
The Celtics and Nets play three times in the span of 11 days later this month. Boston's final two exhibition games are against Brooklyn (Sunday and Wednesday) and the Nets return to TD Garden for the season opener on Oct. 29.
"One of the neat parts about being in the NBA is they are very forward-thinking," Stevens said. "I think one of the frustrations about being involved in any major industry is how slow change can happen. But I’m really encouraged because the NBA seems to be really quick to try things and to see if it works. To be in that experimental game is going to be a neat experience for our guys."
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Brad Stevens said Jeff Green responded well to his return to practice on Monday after missing 10 days due to a left calf strain.
Green, who led the Celtics in scoring last season with a 16.8 points per game average, has been out because of a left calf injury.
It did not appear to be serious, but the Celtics were not in a hurry to bring him back for fear that it might evolve into a lingering-type injury.
Stevens said he has received no medical reports indicating he should remain out or be limited in any fashion upon returning.
"So I'm assuming he's good to go tomorrow (versus Toronto)," Stevens said.
Green's return to the lineup comes at a time when the Celtics, like most teams around the NBA, are trying to get a better feel for what their regular season rotation will look like.
Jeff Green is returning with some competition. Evan Turner has been solid, and consistent so far, and I think he has a good chance taking Green's starting spot. Grantland talked about Jeff Green being the one traded, and not Rondo this season. I think that's about right. Jeff Green is replaceable, and I think Ainge found that in Turner.
Boston will keep Rajon Rondo and trade Jeff Green
Gather all the intel you’d like, and this will still be a borderline 50/50 guess on both guys.
Boston has gauged the market for both over the last year or so, and its expected price for Rondo has been sky-high, per several league sources. That price will drop as Rondo’s deal ticks toward expiration, but the market for him is thin. Point guard is stacked leaguewide, and Rondo is 28, coming off ACL surgery, and seeking a max contract as he approaches free agency. A few suitors could wait to chase him in the offseason instead of dealing assets now and risking that Rondo walks in July. ...
I truly hate bagging on a player, but I think the Green era needs to end. I think the Celtics need to get "assets" for Green at this point and time. That's the smarter deal any day of the week over trading Rondo. Rondo's the franchise player and Green is not..