In a win 96-89 over the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics point-guard Rajon Rondo played his best game since coming back from his ACL injury. Rondo has been a bit rusty since returning to the team, but his performance is a promising sign regarding his progress and a huge step in the right direction.
For the first time in over a year, Rondo looked like player we had become accustomed to seeing on a nightly basis. He was back to being a quick guard who can get to the rim, run in transition, create opportunities for teammates and put a little pizzazz on the passing game. In a mere 27 minutes of action, Rondo scored 19 points on 9-of-11 from the field, with 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals. It marked the first time Rondo has gotten double-digit assists since coming back, a feat he easily accomplished game after game in previous seasons.
Prior to last night’s contest, Rondo was averaging 6.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.8 rebounds and one steal in 24 minutes per game. Those numbers aren’t exactly disappointing for someone coming off a torn ACL, but it is reassuring to see such a strong performance by the four-time All-Star. Rondo was able to control the pace of the game and run the offense smoothly and efficiently. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger benefited from Rondo’s play-making ability as Sullinger had 21 points while Bass added 19. Although he didn’t capitalize on his opportunities, Rondo created great looks for Jeff Green as well.
When Rondo is at the top of his game, Avery Bradley becomes an excellent complement on offense and defense. Bradley and Rondo seem to work very well together. Bradley scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field.
Another significant part of Rondo’s performance last night was that it was the Celtics’ first victory with Rondo on the court in 2013-14 season. Boston was previously 0-6 in games Rondo played this season, so this was Rondo’s first victory with the team in over a year.
While it is great to see Rondo making progress it is not so great if the Celtics will be winning a significant amount of games because of his performances. Rondo needs another star to play next to him, and the best way to acquire that piece is through the draft. Nonetheless, Rondo finally showed that he can be the leader on this team and perhaps the centerpiece going forward.