Rondo's triple-double leads Celtics past Bobcats

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Rondo's triple-double leads Celtics past Bobcats

BOSTON Rajon Rondo has a birthday coming up next month.

He'll be 27 years old which is still relatively young by most people's standards.

But players that age, especially those who have accomplished all that Rondo has in his NBA career, are indeed targets every time they step on the basketball court.

Aware of this, Rondo made a point -- make that several points -- on Monday to remind folks why he is firmly entrenched on the short list of the NBA's elite point guards.

Rondo's all-around game was among the keys in Boston's 100-89 victory over Charlotte, a game in which Rondo tallied his third triple-double of the season and 26th of his career.

He finished with 17 points along with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in helping the Celtics (20-17) win for the sixth straight game.

"He controlled the game from the start," said Boston's Courtney Lee. "He came out aggressive; he was getting to the hole. He was finishing lay-ups and pressuring the ball. He was setting the tempo early."

During the C's most recent string of victories, Rondo hadn't filled up the stat sheet as he normally does.

The league's leader in assists, Rondo came into Monday's game averaging 8.3 assists per game during the team's winning streak -- about three fewer assists than he has averaged this season.

Charlotte's Kemba Walker was the latest up-and-coming playmaker in the NBA who was hoping to test his skills against the more seasoned Rondo.

"I'm getting a little bit older, so the younger guys are coming in, I kind of have a mark on my back being an older guy, making a couple all-stars," Rondo said. "I'm a target every night. I just wanted to go out there and defend what I do best -- run the show."

For most of the 37-plus minutes Rondo was on the floor, it was classic Rondo. He made an array of acrobatic shots, sprinkled in a slew no-look passes and of course, snared more than his share of rebounds both around the basket and those that took a long bounce away from the rim.

"He's just very crafty," said Bobcats guard Ben Gordon. "He knows the game, he has a very high basketball IQ so he's a mismatch for most guys. Even if he's not scoring he's able to find his teammates. He's a true point guard."

A big part of being a point guard is finding different ways to impact the game.

Despite his numbers being down during the C's recent winning streak, teammate Courtney Lee is quick to come to his defense when it comes to explaining Rondo's impact on the Celtics' success.

"You're used to Rondo impacting the game through assists, getting to the lane and making floaters and lay-ups and what-not," Lee said. "But as you've seen of late, he's picked up his defense and his communication. He's more of a vocal leader out there, so he's impacting games in more ways."

An early look at the Celtics' roster

An early look at the Celtics' roster

BOSTON – The Celtics have had legit drama in their past two training camps, each involving a fight for 15 – as in the 15th roster spot.
 
Two years ago, it was Perry Jones III winding up on the outside looking in.
 
Last season, it was R.J. Hunter being edged out for the final roster spot by James Young.
 
Who will it be this year?

MORE CELTICS

 
Because for the third season in a row, the Celtics are on the verge of heading into camp having at least one too many guaranteed contracts.
 
The agent for Shane Larkin told CSNNE.com that his client will be joining the Celtics for this upcoming season, which would bring Boston’s total number of guaranteed contracts to 16. That includes the announced signings Thursday of German forward Daniel Theis and the team’s first-round pick in 2016 and 16th selection overall, French big man Guerschon Yabusele.

Making their deals official gives the Celtics one more guaranteed contract than the NBA-maximum a team can take heading into the season. That figure does not include the recent addition of Kadeem Allen, who agreed to a two-way contract and does not count against the team’s total.  
 
The past two training camps have produced some hotly contested battles, which has seemingly brought out the best in those competing for roster spots as well as the team’s more established players.
 
This camp should be more of the same, especially when you consider the talent assembled thus far has a foundation that has a high level of interchangeability.

Coach Brad Stevens, slowly but surely, is getting closer to having the kind of roster that can compete at the highest levels regardless of their opponent’s preferred style of play.
 
“We’ve become more versatile as the years have gone on,” Stevens said. “We entered the playoffs a couple years ago [against Cleveland], we only had a couple guys who could really swing that 3 [small forward] and 4 [power forward] spot. Being able to slowly add the right guys … you look at guys like Jaylen [Brown], you look at a guy like Jayson [Tatum], you look at Semi Ojeleye, those guys have the body to do it.”
 
Fortunately for the Celtics, they are not the only players on the roster with an element of versatility to their game.
 
Here’s a look at the team’s current roster broken down into the four primary positions – guards, wings, perimeter bigs and bigs.
 
GUARDS
Isaiah Thomas
Terry Rozier
Shane Larkin

WINGS (bigger point guards, shooting guards, small forwards)
Marcus Smart
Gordon Hayward
Jae Crowder
Jaylen Brown
Jayson Tatum
Semi Ojeleye
Abdel Nader

PERIMETER BIGS
Al Horford
Marcus Morris
Guerschon Yabusele
Daniel Theis

BIGS (Power forwards and centers)
Aron Baynes
Ante Zizic