Celtics criticized for force feeding Rajon Rondo’s assist streak

11/19/12 in NBA   |   IvanRogers   |   1352 respect

The Detroit Pistons led all the way through the last three quarters of a lopsided win over the Boston Celtics. But the Gang Green were still determined to get something out of the 103-83 loss. With 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and all hopes of catching up to the Detroit Pistons' lead of over 20 points lost, Rajon Rondo came off the bench to keep his double-digits assist streak alive with the aid of his teammates.

“Why not?” coach Doc Rivers answered to questions regarding the Boston Celtics’ change of motives in the waning moments of Sunday night’s loss, and instead focus on Rajon Rondo’s assist streak. “You guys keep talking about it, so I figured give him a shot at it.”

Doc Rivers knew that the Boston Celtics were far from making a comeback so he called a time out in the last few minutes and encouraged his players to provide Rajon Rondo with opportunities to maintain his assist streak.

“I said, ‘guys, we’re going to lose the game by the way,’” recalled Doc Rivers. “Let’s not play crazy, but if we can get him two more (assists), let’s do it. If not, that’s it. First time we’ve done that.”

Rajon Rondo can be hardly cited for a selfish desire to accomplish individual records since the plan originated from Doc Rivers and was completely advocated by the players.

“It’s good to have a coach that has your back like that,” Rajon Rondo expressed his appreciation for the team’s contribution towards his ongoing assist streak.

It wasn’t like Rajon Rondo was showing inconsistencies in his performance and passing up shots to keep his assist streak alive in the game. Rajon Rondo’s always been a pass-first, pass-second, shoot-79th kind of player. And on the whole, he’s been making more shots and scoring more points than his 2009-2010 season.

However, many raised questions about maintaining the true spirit of the game and prioritizing team success.

 "I don't think that much about the streak, but I know that down the road, it will be something that I'm very proud that I accomplished," Rajon Rondo said after the game. "People will probably talk about what happened tonight, but I don't know.”

Recalling Magic Johnson and James Stock’s assist streak’s, Rajon Rondo stated that the Hall of FAmers might have “stayed in with a 30-point lead to get their streak going” during certain games but no one hangs on to those details anymore. Rajon Rondo is on his 34th game assist streak, already ranking third in league history.

The 26-year-old Rajon Rondo made his last four assists on the six minute mark and with the Boston Celtics trailing by 21 points. The final assist came with just 51 seconds remaining in the game.

Other issues have also surfaced such as if it was wise of Doc Rivers to keep a key Boston Celtics player on-court during garbage time after he missed Thursday’s loss to Brooklyn Nets with an ankle sprain. Although Rajon Rondo showed no signs of the injury during Saturday’s road game against the Toronto Raptors, there were still concerns regarding playing the guard 38 minutes last night after back-to-back games.

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