It's official: Rondo is 2011-12 NBA assist king


It's official: Rondo is 2011-12 NBA assist king

BOSTON When you're 26 years old, it's hard to see the historically cool dynamic of doing what so few have ever done before you.

Rajon Rondo came into Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks having already secured the NBA's assists title this season.

Following Boston's 87-74 win over the Bucks, Rondo left no doubt about who the best passer in the NBA is this season as he tallied 15 assists with one turnover in just 25 minutes.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles, who set an NBA record by dishing out 30 assists in one game, is among the many impressed with Rondo's playmaking ability.

"He plays at his pace," Skiles said. "Even if you're doing a good job, it's hard to get it out of his pace. That's the pace that he plays at. He's always seen the floor well and he made some nice passes."

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has not spent a lot of time concerning himself with Rondo's impressive assists numbers.

With Rondo having missed the previous four games with a back injury, Rivers was more concerned on Thursday with his conditioning.

"He just needed his wind," Rivers said. "That's why we played him."

While the back still has some soreness, Rondo seems determined to play through it.

"I plan on playing as much as possible," he said.

And lately, he has been playing at a level that's seldom seen in Boston - or any NBA city for that matter.

By finishing the season as the NBA's assists leader, he becomes the first Celtic to do so since Bob Cousy in 1960.

"It's a great accomplishment, very humbling," Rondo said. "I gotta thank my teammates personally, they are the ones that made the shots."

But it's Rondo who finds a way of getting them the ball exactly where they need it in order to be effective.

That knack for making the right play more often than not is among the many reasons why Rondo continues to build a strong case for being the best point guard this franchise has had since Cousy.

And to now have one more thing in common with the Hall of Famer only adds more credence to Rondo steady climb atop the list of great Celtics players.

Rondo acknowledged achieving a feat that had not been done since Cousy more than 50 years ago is special.

"It means a lot," Rondo said. "Cousy has always had great things to say about me. I would be honored if he could present me with a ball if I got one (for the assists title)."

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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Red Sox did their homework researching Sale's character on and off the field

Red Sox did their homework researching Sale's character on and off the field

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- In today's game, teams are sure to do their homework when bringing in a star player. For either a big free agent or trade acquisition, clubs want to know everything they can about the individual.

New starter Chris Sale passes that test for the Red Sox.

"There's always an on-field (personality) and away from the game (to consider),'' said Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox' president of baseball operations. "On the field, he's as competitive as can be. He's got an edge to him - a good edge. His teammates love him.

"Off the field, I've heard a lot of pleasant things about him. I've heard tremendous things from him as an individual. A couple of our guys in the organization know him very well and say real good things about him.''

Sale was involved in two clubhouse incidents last season - one in which he angrily confronted White Sox president Kenny Williams about his decision to limit the amount of time Adam LaRoche's son could spend with the team, and another in which he cut up a throw-back uniform with scissors.

"I think you do your checking to see what causes some things,'' said Dombrowski. "But after I checked things, (I'm) not really (concerned).''

Another benefit to having Sale is that he could potentially take some pressure of David Price, who struggled at times in his first season in Boston and perhaps tried too hard to validate his $217 million contract.

"I think it's always good for a club if they have a number of guys, top of the rotation guys, to take the pressure off everybody else,'' Dombrowski said. "Because you know that everyone has a bad outing here and there, and somebody else picks you up in that case. I think that's helpful. If we didn't have (another No. 1 starter), I'd still have confidence in (Price).''

It's possible that the Red Sox could go into next season with as many as four lefthanders in their rotation -- Sale, Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz.

"It's unusual to have four lefthanders, potentially, in the rotation,'' acknowledged Dombrowski. "A lot of times, you're looking for one. But if it was four lefties, that would be fine. I think it's more important that they get people out. I'd be comfortable with that.

"I've really never been in that spot before, which doesn't make me feel uncomfortable. I don't have a driving force to make any trades because four guys are lefties. I think they're good lefties.''