Rajon Rondo’s Command of Celtics Offense Reaching Expert Level


Rajon Rondo's Command of Celtics Offense Reaching Expert LevelAll Rajon Rondo has done lately is be perfect.

Rondo did have a few blights on his resume in Friday's win over the Timberwolves. He committed two turnovers and hit only three of his 11 shots, if we're splitting hairs, but those flaws hardly registered during a 17-assist performance in which he commanded the Celtics offense as well as he has all season.

Rondo extended his run of double-digit assist games to 12 straight contests, and when he looked over at Celtics coach Doc Rivers in the fourth quarter to see what play he should call, Rivers shook him off.

"You're doing a great job," Rivers told him. "You call the game."

Other than a set play out of timeout, Rivers said, everything the Celtics ran from then on was Rondo's call.

Whether coincidence or cause, Rondo's two-game suspension for tossing the ball at an official preempted his current run of strong play. He has played 19 games since the suspension and reached double figures in assists in all but two of those games. He is averaging 12.4 assists per game since the suspension, up from his Eastern Conference best 9.5 assists per game average before he was given the heave-ho.

Just as importantly, Friday's game was the fifth time in the last six games that Rondo committed three turnovers or fewer, making him the biggest contributor to the Celtics' 20-9 turnover advantage. He did not commit his first turnover until the final minute of the third quarter.

"I've been trying to keep my turnovers down the last couple of weeks," Rondo said. "If we don't turn the ball over, we have a better chance of winning the game, so as the point guard I try to take care of the ball."

A little more than a month ago, a vocal cross-section of Celtics supporters were calling for team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to trade Rondo. That ouster never came, and it has become hard to envision the Celtics having the same level of success without him.

"He has a great grasp of our team, who's rolling and what we should run," Rivers said. "That's great when we can get into those kinds of flows."

Right now, the Celtics offense flows through Rondo. And it could not flow more smoothly.

Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

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