Rajon Rondo Still Making Big Plays Despite Free-Throw Woes

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Rajon Rondo Still Making Big Plays Despite Free-Throw Woes The way Rajon Rondo's night began, it was hard to imagine it would end like this.

But when you're as quick as Rondo is, turnarounds can happen in an instant.

Rondo erased a poor start brought on by foul trouble with a breakout third quarter, spurring the Celtics to a 109-95 win over Golden State on Wednesday night in Boston.

The 23-year-old had 12 points, four assists and three rebounds in the quarter, turning a tight-knit affair into a runaway in the matter of moments. He ended the night with 18 points, a game-high 12 assists and seven rebounds.

"That's the Rondo I'm used to seeing," said Boston center Kendrick Perkins.

But it certainly wasn't early on.

Rondo committed two fouls in the game's first three-plus minutes. He sat until early in the second and went into the locker room with just four points and seemed a bit out of sync, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

At the break, Boston led by just one point against a 3-7 club playing the second of a back-to-back set with only eight healthy players.

Nineteen seconds into the second half, though, Rondo scored on a layup, setting the tone for what was to come.

"We tried to up our intensity at both ends of the floor in the third quarter," Rondo said. "We started calling plays for me on the pick-and-roll and I just tried to attack the bigs. Sometimes they may switch, sometimes they show [themselves] and get back.

"We just tried to mix it up with different play calls and get to the rim."

Moments later, Rondo had a rare dunk and midway through the quarter converted consecutive layups to give Boston its first double-digit advantage at 66-55.

"He came out in the third quarter and played with unbelievable speed and energy," Rivers said. "If Rondo came off [pick-and-rolls] with enough speed, it didn't matter if they switched. They couldn't stay in front of him."

The Warriors could, however, foul him.

After missing his only free-throw attempt in the first half, Rondo had failed to convert on 10 straight opportunities from the line. The drought left him three shy of matching former journeyman Chris Dudley's NBA record.

But in a quarter that also saw Rondo make his first 3-pointer of the season, even bugaboos were rendered obsolete — Rondo made a foul shot with 4:28 left in the third to end the dry spell.

"It's a miss or a make," he said. "I really don't care. It's not life or death. It's a miss or make, I don't put too much to it and I'm gonna keep attacking the rim. I think I'm averaging like eight layups a game. I'm not shying away from the rim. I'm going to keep attacking and I'm going to keep going to the line."

As Rondo met with reporters after the game and discussed his free-throw woes, Kevin Garnett was filing out of the locker room. The ever-playful Garnett yelled out to Rondo, "Yeah, quit lying!" in an effort to distract his point guard.

Rondo, as unfazed as he is by his 1-of-13 stretch from the line, just kept on talking, barely allowing a smile. Soon his answer was over, and so was a night that started one way, but ended another.

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