1. Pass to teammate.
2. Teammate hits shot.
3. Rondo gets an assist.
4. The crowd goes wild.
"Putting the ball in the hole, pretty simple," Rondo said of extending his streak of double-digit assist games to 19 in the 88-86 overtime victory over the Hawks.
At times, it did seem that easy for Rondo on Wednesday. He played every solitary second after halftime, racking up 20 assists to go with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth triple-double of the season.
Several times, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he tried to sub for Rondo. Every time, Rondo successfully litigated to stay in the game.
"He willed that game," Rivers said. "He begged to stay in. He didn't have to beg long, but he begged."
If it seems like we are running out of adjectives to describe Rondo's showcases, it's because we are. At this point, all that is left is nitpicking. He was beaten a couple of times on hard cuts by Atlanta guards for layups, and his six turnovers loomed larger than the assists for the first three quarters of the game.
The Celtics committed 19 turnovers, something Rondo addressed afterward even though he handed out six assists with zero turnovers after the start of the fourth quarter.
"It starts with me," he said. "If I take care of the ball, I think we do [take care of the ball] as a team, because I dominate the ball a lot, more than anybody. So I try to be more conscious of when I am turning the ball over. Overall, I think we've got to slow down as a team and try to execute our assists and not try to force anything."
Dealing out 20 assists in a game really isn't as easy as 1-2-3. Rondo is only making it seem that way.