Milestone Monday: Rondo passing into greatness

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Milestone Monday: Rondo passing into greatness

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

LOS ANGELES The Boston Celtics have had their share of great playmakers.

But it's safe to say they've never quite had a guy running the show like Rajon Rondo.

The 6-foot-1 guard has a knack for combining a high level of basketball flair with intense focus.

"Rondo is by far the smartest player I've been around," said Celtics guard Nate Robinson.

That tandem of skills have allowed him to rise to the top of the NBA leader's list in assists (12.6) per game this season.

Those qualities, sprinkled with the kind of speed that makes every time he steps on the floor a track meet, have him among the handful of players in the conversation about who is the league's top point guard.

"When he plays with speed, he has power," said coach Doc Rivers.

Speed is indeed a big part of his success.

It's a fitting trait for him to have when you consider how quickly he's racing up the charts among all-time assists leaders for the Celtics.

Rondo, who now has 2,596 career assists, recently cracked the Celtics' all-time top 10 in this category.

Making Rondo's rise even more remarkable is that he's done it in such a short period of time.

Rondo, who will be 25 next month, is about halfway through his fifth NBA season.

When you look at the nine players currently ahead of him on the C's all-time assists leaders list, all but two (Dennis Johnson and K.C. Jones) spent at least 10 seasons in the Green and White.

Johnson and Jones spent seven and nine seasons with the Celtics, respectively.

While he doesn't quite have their level of experience, Rondo more than makes up for that with the kind of selfless game that makes him the kind of teammate this group of Celtics love to play with.

"It's beautiful watching him grow, and how hard he wants it and how hard he goes," said forward Kevin Garnett. "Sometimes he'll see something that you don't see, and he'll make you see it. I guess it's the point guard vision. He has a very high I.Q., when it comes to basketball. He understands angles. That's what makes him who he is. That's what makes him unique. He plays both ends, doesn't take nights off. You roll with a guy like that. We respect him even more just because we've seen the process. It's good."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

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Bulls' point guard counsel spun to Isaiah Canaan in Game 4

Bulls' point guard counsel spun to Isaiah Canaan in Game 4

CHICAGO – The point guard carousel continues to swirl for the Chicago Bulls who will now give Isaiah Canaan a try as they continue to search for a suitable replacement for Rajon Rondo (right thumb) who is out indefinitely.

Canaan, a seldom-used backup this season, came off the bench and provided a major spark for the Bulls in 34 fairly productive minutes. 

He led all Chicago bench players with 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting which included a 3-for-7 showing from 3-point range. 

More than anything, Canaan looked like a serviceable playmaker which is a huge, huge upgrade to what Chicago got out of Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams. 

Grant, who struggled mightily in Game 3 as well, was not ready for the moment. He couldn’t make shots, slow down Isaiah Thomas or impact the game other than negatively for the Bulls which is why Fred Hoiberg benched him after less than five minutes of court time. The dude had a plus/minus of -10 in less than five minutes (four minutes, 41 seconds to be exact).

The Bulls will need better play than that to have any shot at winning, which is why Hoiberg named Canaan the starter and not Michael Carter-Williams who like Grant, struggled in Games 3 and 4. 

“I really thought he (Canaan) did a good job picking up the ball and pressuring the point a full 94 feet," Hoiberg said. "I thought his initial ball pressure was good. We have to get off to a much better start if we want to have any chance of winning another game in this series. That’s two games in a row now we’ve gotten ourselves down 20 points and fought all the way back. Game 3 cut it to 1. Last night we took the lead and then had five empty possessions in a row where they scored on the other end. You spend so much energy digging out of that hole. We need to do a better job of using that energy in a better start."

Playing with energy may become an issue for Canaan who readily admits that not being in the regular rotation while racking up a bunch of DNP-CDs this season made it more challenging for him in Game 4 to get into a good flow. 

"The way I play, I was more worried about my wind,” Canaan told reporters. “God helped me out as much as possible. I’m looking forward to that next game and getting that rhythm back."