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Celtics

Matchup With Chris Paul Should Motivate Celtics Rondo

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An NBA official breaks up point guards Chris Paul (left, then of the New Orleans Hornets) and Rajon Rondo during a game at the TD Garden in Boston. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

An NBA official breaks up point guards Chris Paul (left, then of the New Orleans Hornets) and Rajon Rondo during a game at the TD Garden in Boston. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Boston Celtics

BOSTON (CBS) – Motivation has been the key to getting the best out of Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo this season.

There should be plenty of motivation Monday night when Rondo and the Celtics continue their eight-game road trip against the Clippers in Los Angeles.

Not only do the Celtics need a win after Sunday’s game against the Lakers slipped away, but Rondo will be going head-to-head with the point guard he was rumored to be heading out-of-town for prior to the season.

Before Chris Paul donned Clipper white and red, he was rumored to possibly be wearing green (and many other colors for that matter) during a shortened off-season full of trade talks. But those talks didn’t amount to anything for Boston, and Rondo remained a Celtic

That pre-season chatter could go a long ways in a middle-of-March matchup.

Read: Celtics-Clippers Preview

An ongoing theme for the C’s point guard this season has been that he brings his best game to the floor when the spotlight is on. Rondo began the season with back-to-back double doubles, scoring 53 points with 25 assists in losses to the Knicks and Heat. Last Sunday, he dropped a phenomenal triple-double with 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds on national TV when all the talk was about the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin returning to Boston. On Sunday, Rondo scored a team-high 24 points against the Lakers as the NBA’s famous rivals had the national spotlight to themselves.

Now comes Rondo’s first meeting with Paul since all the trade talk. They’ll have the Monday night spotlight (albeit a late-night spotlight) all to themselves, which has all the makings of another classic point guard duel.

Rondo hasn’t put up great numbers against Paul over his career, averaging just over 10 points and six assists over seven starts when CP3 was a member of the Hornets. Paul on the other hand has averaged nearly a double-double (16.3 points, 8.9 assists)in his 11 career meetings with Boston, and now has a much younger and more talented squad around him. Add in all the trade talk, and that should be all the more reason for Rondo to step up once again.

While a triple double is unlikely, a strong performance out of Rondo isn’t out of the question.All the ingredients are there: national TV, matching up with another top point guard, and some more trade rumors just for good measure. It will be another classic point guard matchup in the NBA this season, and with the motivation of going against Chris Paul, Rondo should put forth one of his better efforts.

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