Milestone Monday: Rondo passing into greatness


Milestone Monday: Rondo passing into greatness

By A. Sherrod Blakely

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 Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics pay tribute to Craig Sager in Tuesday's practice


Celtics pay tribute to Craig Sager in Tuesday's practice

The NBA is honoring longtime TNT broadcaster Craig Sager to begin the season, with teams wearing Sager-themed shirts across the league. 

Sager, 65, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014, and it was announced in March that he had an expected three-to-six months to live. 

The Celtics celebrated Sager in full force at the end of Tuesday’s practice, changing into shirts with multi-colored flowers and clashing patterns in an ode to Sager’s signature style. The group gathered for pictures and shouted “Sager Strong,” a hashtag that’s circulated in support of the 65-year-old. 

After news emerged that his cancer had returned in March, TNT worked out a deal with ABC that allowed Sager to cover the NBA Finals for the first time in his 34-year career, leading to a memorable exchange with LeBron James after the Cavaliers won the NBA title.