Rajon Rondo is further along in the NBA history books after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 117-109 game two win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
With Rondo’s 10 points, three rebounds and nine assist outing in the semifinals last night, the former Kentucky Wildcat moved up to the 12th spot in the all-time playoff assist list. Rondo’s third assist of the game was his 988th assist overall in the playoffs, surpassing Isiah Thomas’ 987 dimes.
Isiah Thomas couldn’t be happier for Rondo. “Congratulations to Rondo,” the Naismith Hall of Famer told me via text message.
“One of my favorite point guards. Winner and champion.”
Rondo is likely chasing that eleventh spot held by late Boston Celtic legend, Dennis Johnson. Johnson has 1,006 career NBA Playoffs assists.
Current Lakers assistant coach and NBA Hall of Famer Jason Kidd is fourth on the NBA’s All-time league leader in playoff assists with 1,263. Following Kidd is San Antonio Spurs legend Tony Parker who has 1,143 and Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Larry Bird who has 1,062. Rounding out the list in spots six through ten are NBA Hall of Famer and newly minted Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
A four-time NBA All-Star, Rajon Rondo won an NBA Championship in 2008 with the Big 3-era Boston Celtics that was guided by head coach Doc Rivers and featured superstars in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
A two-time All NBA Defensive First Teamer, Rondo has career averages of 10.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest in stints with the Celics, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans and the Lakers.
The 21st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Rondo suffered a right thumb fracture in practice and is playing back into game shape. Rondo missed all eight of the seeding games and part of the NBA playoffs during the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Rondo has the support of his NBA bretheren too. Insert Rondo’s former Chicago Bulls teammate, Dwyane Wade. “LeBron, Rondo and those guys, their veteran leadership is going to try and get that continuity together early on,” Wade told me.
“And try to get it together and going fast.”
“He’s the smartest player that I’ve ever played with,” Brian Scalabrine told me.
“He’s one of, if not, the smartest players that I’ve ever coached,” Naismith Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman told me.
“So if you are going to coach him, you need to expect him to hold you accountable and he will.”
Rondo and the Lakers and the Rockets are tied 1-1 in the Western Conference semis.
Game 3 between the Rockets and Lakers is Tuesday evening.