Rivers, Celtics help Rondo extend assist streak

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Rivers, Celtics help Rondo extend assist streak

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been hearing about Rajon Rondo's double-digit assists streak for weeks and has done nothing unusual to help it along - until now.

With the Celtics well on their way to a blowout loss at Detroit, Rivers elected to keep Rondo on the floor in the game's final seconds with a clear goal in mind - to keep his double digit assists streak alive.

"Why not? You guys keep talking about it, so I figured give him a shot at it."

Rondo's streak - 34 games and counting - remains intact by the slimmest of margins as his 10th assist did not come until a 21-foot jumper by rookie Jared Sullinger with 51 seconds to play.

Moments after he had his 10th assist, Leandro Barbosa was making his way to the scorer's table to replace Rondo.

The idea to work towards keeping Rondo's record going strong was apparently hatched during a time-out with 1:38 to play.

"When I called a time-out," Rivers recalled, "I said, 'guys, we're going to lose the game by the way.' Let's not play crazy, but if we can get him two more (assists), let's do it. If not, that's it. First time we've done that."

But the basketball gods that Rivers so often mentions, seemed as though they weren't going to allow the record to extend beyond Sunday night.

One after another, Rondo would make a good pass to a teammate who would have a great look at the basket.

Too short. Too long. Wide right. Off to the left.

That is, until Jared Sullinger delivered two of his team-high 16 points in the game's final minute.

"It's funny," Rivers said. "The harder we tried (to keep the record going), the worse we got at it."

But it's alive and well, with the only players in NBA history with more consecutive double-digit assists games being John Stockton (37 straight) and Magic Johnson (46).

"Anytime any player is mentioned with those two guys," Rivers said. "That means he's done something special."

Rondo is on track to break the record at Chicago on Dec. 18.

"I'll look back on it one day and realize what I'm doing," Rondo said following Boston's 103-83 defeat to the Pistons. "I'm upset we lost, but the streak is alive. It is what it is. I don't think much about it. I'll look back one day and realize what I've done."

Rondo is hearing more and more these days about Stockton and Johnson, a pair of Hall of Famers who dominated the game many years ago.

"I didn't really watch it when Stockton (was playing), and I don't think I was born when Magic was (setting records)," Rondo said. "It's been a long time since this type of streak has happened. It's a great honor. It's a credit to my teammates."

And while Rondo racking up double-digit assists seems like child's play most nights, the C's clearly went that extra mile - and then some - to try and keep the streak intact.

In Rondo's eyes, that should not deter in any way from what he's accomplished.

"You don't know when Stockton got his, if he stayed in the game when they were up 30 or down 30," Rondo said. "Now we're in the present, you probably look at it, a lot more attention as far as wins and losses. But you never know."

Chris Sale and David Price discuss golfing and video gaming together

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Chris Sale and David Price discuss golfing and video gaming together

Trenni Kusnierek sits down for a couple of interviews at Spring Training in Fort Myers, FL. 

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First up, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski talks about "winning the winter", and filling the leadership void left by David Ortiz.

Also, Dombrowski's two biggest acquisitions during his tenure with Boston , Chris Sale and David Price, discuss expectations for the rotation, and getting to know each other off the field.

Saban knows he has 'great teacher of the game' in new OC Daboll

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Saban knows he has 'great teacher of the game' in new OC Daboll

After 17 years in the NFL, after five Super Bowl titles, after time spent as a defensive assistant, receivers coach, tight ends coach and offensive coordinator, after working with two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and under one Hall of Fame head coach, Brian Daboll is going back to school. 

It makes sense that the new Alabama offensive coordinator chose to make the leap from the pro game to Tuscaloosa. In New England he was the offensive coordinator in waiting, it seemed, but Josh McDaniels still hasn't jumped at a head coaching gig and it's uncertain when he will.

With the Crimson Tide, Daboll will get a raise -- he'll easily double his Patriots salary, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss -- and a chance to call the plays for one of the premier programs in college football. He'll also remain in contention for NFL jobs down the line if he wants to work his way back; 'Bama's last offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, just jumped to the Falcons to replace Kyle Shanahan as their offensive coordinator. 

"We are certainly happy to add a coach the caliber of Brian Daboll to our staff," Nick Saban told RollTide.com. "I have known Brian since he worked for us as a GA at Michigan State and he has a fantastic reputation in the coaching profession. He brings a tremendous work ethic to the job and has a wealth of football knowledge. Brian is a great teacher of the game, and someone who can relate well to our players. We are excited to welcome Brian, his wife Beth and their family to Tuscaloosa."

In the last year alone, Daboll's resume got a nice bump as his teaching ability was highlighted throughout the course of New England's run to another Super Bowl. He helped Martellus Bennett grasp a complicated offensive system to the point where it was Bennett who was the target of Tom Brady's throws twice in overtime of the Super Bowl when the team was trying to punch one into the end zone. Bennett finished the season with 55 catches for 701 yards and seven scores.

Daboll was responsible for getting Matt Lengel up to speed late in the season with Rob Gronkowski out for the year and Bennett dealing with myriad injuries. Lengel, from Eastern Kentucky by way of Northeastern, worked with Daboll one-on-one at times in practice and made appearances in six regular-season games after having spent the majority of his first two pro seasons on the Bengals practice squad.

Daboll even deserves some recognition for the season that fullback James Develin put together, perhaps the best of his career to this point, as Develin met with the tight ends on a daily basis. When Gronkowski went out, Develin needed to be ready to take on more tight end responsibilities, and Daboll ran the crash course. 

At Alabama, Daboll will work with a slightly different population. The players will be younger. They won't have the base of knowledge his pro pupils did. And he'll be working more closely with a new position as he takes on the responsibilities of quarterbacks coach. 

"I am honored to have the chance to return to the college game and work for Coach Saban at Alabama," Daboll said in a statement. "He basically gave me my start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in the late 1990s and has always been a very important influence on my coaching career. It is a tremendous opportunity to work at an institution such as Alabama with its rich tradition and history of sustained success, and I'm very excited to get started."