Rondo at the top of his game early on

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Rondo at the top of his game early on

CHICAGO Moments after Boston's 101-95 win over the Bulls, Rajon Rondo was knee-deep in a huge bucket of ice water.

That seems to be the only way to slow him down these days.

While it's too soon to make a strong argument for his place among the league's MVP candidates, Rondo's play is at a level that once again has him thickly entrenched in the argument over the best point guard in the NBA.

In the C's win over Chicago, Rondo had a near triple-double with 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

After seven games, he's averaging a career-high 15.4 points per game along with 5.1 rebounds and an NBA-best 12.9 assists per game.

Rondo is also shooting a career-best 52.8 percent from the field with many of his points coming on mid-range and elbow jumpers.

Even with him knocking them down more consistently, he still recognizes that defenses have yet to adapt to the jump-shot making Rondo.

"They pretty much play me the same," Rondo said.

Which as it turns out, is a good thing for the Celtics.

For years, Jason Terry found himself matched up against Rondo when Terry played in Dallas. And the scouting report back then involved giving Rondo space to shoot as much as he wanted.

Lately, Rondo's forcing teams to play a game of pick your poison.

If you give him the open jumper, he's knocking that down.

Teams looking to put more pressure on him as a shooter, find that he still has the ability to blow past them with ease.

"It's all about confidence," said Terry, who spent his eight previous seasons with the Dallas Mavericks prior to signing with Boston. "He understands how the defense is going to play him. It's not going to change. They are going to continue to make him take that shot. He has to be willing to step up, take and make those shots when they're presented to him. Being aggressive, for him this entire season, that's what it's going to be about."

Seeing Rondo continue to grow as a player is a source of pride for veterans like Paul Pierce.

"He works hard at his craft," Pierce said. "It's developing nicely over the years. I feel that with me, Kevin (Garnett) being around here, I've been a part of that. It's beautiful to watch him finally come into his own. I consider him the best point guard in the league. The things he's able to do out there, and with him scoring the ball like that . . . you already know what he can do as far passing and rebounding. He's just unstoppable."

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Patriots punter Ryan Allen named AFC special teams player of the week

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Patriots punter Ryan Allen named AFC special teams player of the week

FOXBORO -- Ryan Allen was the definition of an x-factor on Thursday night against the Texans. 

He punted seven times for an average of 47.6 yards per boot, and none of them were returned. A career-high six of his seven landed inside the 20-yard line, and the one that did not was marked right at the 20. He dropped his other punts at the 11, 10, 10, 14, 5 and 4-yard lines, helping to limit Houston's average starting field position to the 15-yard line. 

Allen has won the award now twice in his career. He also took it home in 2014 following a Week 14 win over the Chargers.

It is the second AFC Player of the Week honor for a Patriots special teamer this year. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski picked it up after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Cardinals back in Week 1.