Rondo Assists Celtics (24 Times) in Win Over Knicks

Calling all stat geeks (and Celtics fans)!

Here are some numbers that might catch your eye.

10-10-24

25-14-5

24-10

Those are the stats for Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, respectively.

I guess you could call this one a... numbers game (sorry).

Rondo's 24 assists are good enough for second place all-time in Celtics history, four behind some guy named Bob Cousy. For Rondo, it's just business as usual.

"When he plays with speed, pushes the ball up the floor, it's amazing," Doc Rivers said. "He had whatever amount, 24 assists, yet he gave up the ball a lot tonight. It was a lot of movement. And that's how we have to play. So it was good."

Rondo had two turnovers in the opening minutes of the game, and five before the half. Even so, he didn't let that affect the way he played - which impressed Rivers the most.

"I think this one is an extraordinary one and the reason is he started off turning the ball over. Usually when you start off turning the ball over you get conservative. It's rare that you start the way he started the game and then still end up with the game he had. That's a great sign for us and his mental toughness. A year ago, two years ago, no way that happens. He holds onto it or he calls safe plays."

Eight of Garnett's 12 buckets came courtesy of Rondo.

"He was amazing, "Garnett said of Rondo. "We all know that he's an influence on the game and tonight, ah man, stats are one thing but the influence and how he controls the game is another. There's very few in the game that can do it. He's a special player man."

Doc Rivers held a team meeting earlier today to discuss each player's role on the team. The meeting, which Rivers says happens every year, was to make sure each player was in sync with each other so games like the last one in Cleveland wouldn't happen often. It was clear before, and it's still clear now - Rondo's role on this team is to get everyone involved. He's been doing more and more over the past three seasons.

"That's what we ask him to do night in and night out," Pierce said. "We expect Rondo night in and night out to keep guys involved and he pretty much got everybody involved. He got the popcorn man involved, he got the announcer involved, he got everybody involved tonight."

For Pierce, his 14 rebounds were the most he's had since Nov. 22, 2006 - before the arrival of Ray Allen and Garnett.

"That was one of the things Coach talked about this morning," Pierce said. "He said when I rebound the ball I'm a better player. I wanted to make a concentrated effort on that.

"Sometimes it's hard when you have Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal  down there rebounding the ball and then you have a point guard who rebounds the hell out of the ball. So, it's a scrap. But after Coach said it this morning I just really focused in on that and tried to respond to it."

Doc Rivers also had a message for Garnett this morning: Be aggressive! Garnett has been known to pass up the ball at times when he should shoot or attack the rim. It was evident tonight that Garnett took Rivers' message to heart.

"He wanted me to be a lot more aggressive and not be so passive. You know, I'm adjusting. I know I have a barcode on the back of my neck but I am human and I will adjust accordingly. But it's who I am. I try to make guys around me better but at the same time I have to be aggressive ... it's a learning process."

The Celts once again racked up the team turnovers, accumulating 18 turnovers that lead to 16 Knicks points.

"I think we're being a little bit too unselfish at times," Pierce said. "I mean Shaq is such a presence out there and just trying to get him the ball early. I think guys are making the extra pass then another extra pass, which is leading to turnovers. We just have to play the game, settle down and play the game."

Oh, and one more stat for the day: Von Wafer, 2-for-2. Two right hooks.

Rivers on Rondo and Assists

Asked what the most assists in one game Rivers ever had, he joked, "More than 24, that's all I'm going to say. So [Rondo's] done nothing. No, that's pretty impressive. I actually don't know, I think 25. Let's say 28 - let the fact-checkers find it later. I had Dominique next to me, and if I passed it to him he was going to shoot. That's how you got assits."

Rivers also said that in order to get that many assists, guys just have to hit the shots. Well, duh.

"This is the truth. I don't know what the number is, you can look it up. But I had a playoff record for a half, I think it was 17 or 18 assists. And I think I ended up with one more in the second half. Same shots, nobody made them. So it just happens. But it's the perfect storm when those games happen. First of all, you're in a great flow. 

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