Celtics-Pacers preview: Rondo's balancing act huge for C's

Celtics-Pacers preview: Rondo's balancing act huge for C's
January 4, 2013, 4:00 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON If Rajon Rondo had his way, he would spend all game just setting guys up for shots, racking up assists.

But on this Boston Celtics team this season, Rondo has to do more - much more than that - in order for the C's to be successful.

Getting Rondo to become a more aggressive scorer more consistently is one of the many challenges facing head coach Doc Rivers.

As far as pushing the right buttons to get Rondo to be more aggressive, Rivers says, "that button is pushed all the time. When Rondo has the ball he has to be an aggressive scorer."

This season, Rondo is averaging 13 points per game which is slightly below his career-high 13.7 points per game average during the 2009-2010 season.

"I try to let the game develop, but depending on the season my role may change," Rondo said. "I think it has a little bit. I have to maintain my focus and not try to over-do everything. I try to score more, but at the same time still find my teammates, and still score."

Indeed it is a balancing act for the three-time All-star to become more of an offensive force while at the same time stay true to what he does better than anyone in the league - rack up assists.

"That's the definition of a point guard," said Rondo who averages a league-best 11.6 assists per game. "You have to balance out your scoring, but also run the sets. You don't want to be a ball hog or keep the ball, dominate the ball the entire 24 second shot clock. I have talented guys around me."

And while finding them is important, finding ways to score more on his own has value as well.

Rondo's ability to find that happy medium will be a factor in Boston's efforts to snap their season-long losing skid tonight against Indiana. Here are some other factors that may come into play tonight.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Points will once again be tough to come by for the Celtics against an Indiana team that thrives on making life difficult for opponents offensively. Teams are averaging just 90 points per game against the Pacers, the second-best scoring defense in the NBA.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Paul Pierce vs Paul George: Pierce will have his hands full defensively against George who has emerged as one of the most improved players this season in part because of an increased opportunity to play with Danny Granger being out.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jared Sullinger seems to keep getting better with each and every opportunity he gets to play. His emergence as a reliable option off the bench who can score and rebound, bodes well in the C's recovery efforts from what has been a disappointing start to the season.

STAT TO TRACK: Boston has to hold its own on the boards, which will allow them to get out and run against a Pacers team that isn't used to having its transition defense challenged much. They are giving up a league-low 9.8 fast-break points per game in large part because they are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the NBA which prevents teams from getting out in transition even after they make an initial defensive stop.