Rondo continues assist streak in weird fashion
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Cal Ripken Jr. didn’t always play every inning.
And in the context of Rajon Rondo’s 34-game 10-assist streak, Sunday was a one-at-bat outing.
With his Boston Celtics trailing the Detroit Pistons by 16 and 7 minutes, 7 seconds remaining, coach Doc Rivers called for an unusual double-substitution. He went with 6-1 Rondo, 6-2 Jason Terry, 6-3 Leandro Barbosa, 6-6 Paul Pierce and 6-9 Jared Sullinger in a game plan designed to get Rondo the four assists he needed to continue his streak.
“Why not?” Rivers said. “The press keeps talking about it, so I figured I would give him a shot at it. The funny thing was that the harder we tried, the worse we got at it.”
The Pistons ended up winning 103-83.
Rondo had six assists through three quarters but none in the first five minutes of the fourth.
Sullinger saved the day. The rookie out of Ohio State scored a dunk at 5:57, a layup at 4:48 and a 17-foot jump shot at 2:37 before hitting a 21-foot jumper with 51.3 seconds remaining on Rondo’s 10th assist.
Rondo is chasing Magic Johnson’s record 46-game streak in 1983-84, and he’s nearing second on the list, three behind John Stockton’s 37-game run in 1989. He could tie Johnson on Dec. 15 at the San Antonio Spurs if he doesn’t miss or mess up.
Rondo, one of the most straightforward talkers in the NBA, almost allowed himself a moment of happiness after the game.
“I don’t think that much about the streak, but I know that down the road, it will be something that I’m very proud that I accomplished,” he said. “People will probably talk about what happened tonight, but I don’t know. I wasn’t born when Magic had his streak, and I wasn’t watching yet when Stockton had his. There might have been games when they stayed in with a 30-point lead to get their streak going, but there wasn’t as much attention paid back then.”
The Celtics didn’t make this one easy. They shot 4-for-17 on three-pointers, with Terry and Barbosa finishing 2-for-12. But this game was a one-off; Rondo had 20 assists Saturday in a win … [For more on Rajon Rondo continues 10-assist streak in weird fashion as Celtics lose, click here.]