BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo dished out 18 assists in Sunday night’s win over the Detroit Pistons, pushing him further up the Celtics’ all-time list and past one of the team’s all-time greats.
With his 18 helpers in Boston’s 118-111 win, the 28-year-old Rondo is up to 4,101 assists for his career, passing Bill Russell for fourth on the Celtics all-time list. Now, only Paul Pierce, Larry Bird and Bob Cousy have more helpers than Rondo in a Celtics uniform.
After the win, Rondo said it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as a player like Russell.
“Anytime you pass up arguably the best Celtic of all-time, your name is mentioned in the same breath as him, it’s definitely an honor and a compliment,” Rondo said following the victory. “He wasn’t a point guard, but he played here, I don’t know how long (13 seasons). To get on the same list and to pass him up is definitely an honor.”
After turning the ball over seven times in Friday night’s win over Brooklyn (the Celtics as a team coughed it up 25 times), Rondo said he was determined to take better control against Detroit. Not only did he not turn the ball over, but he quarterbacked a Celtics’ offense that handed out a season-high 38 assists on 47 made baskets.
“I think it was a trickle-down effect,” Rondo said of Boston’s ball movement. “When one guy has it going as far as passing the ball, it’s contagious. Guys kept moving the ball. Granted we scored a bunch of points tonight, but we kept on pushing, played free and had fun.”
After another strong performance it’s clear that Rondo is nearly back to the Rondo-of-old after missing a year following ACL surgery. But following the game Rondo said he won’t play Wednesday night in New York, the second leg of a back-to-back, as he’s still not ready for game action on two straight nights.
Head coach Brad Stevens said after Sunday’s win that even if his floor general isn’t 100 percent back to his old self, Rondo is back to being an impact whenever he’s on the floor.
“He’s there from a standpoint of really impacting the game, there’s no question about that,” Stevens said following Boston’s second-straight win. “It’s hard for me to say that he’s where he ultimately can be, because every game he gets a little better. Hopefully he just continues to feel better and better.”
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