Rajon Rondo’s streak of 10 plus assist games now stands at 36 in a row, but is this streak getting in the way of a Celtics team that has yet to find it’s rhythm this season? Doc Rivers certainly think not.
Late in the fourth quarter of what would be a blowout loss at Detroit last week, Rivers called a timeout to set up a play for Rajon Rondo to get his 10th assist of the game. While the game had already been decided, it’s the concept of calling a timeout to keep Rondo’s streak alive that may have teammates questioning Rivers' motives.
“We were getting blown out and I just told him to stay in and get it,” Rivers said of Rondo’s streak. “I knew it was a 10-assist streak..And I’m sure, Rondo, it’s probably a big deal, and I guess as an individual, it’s be great to have. But I want the Celtics to win, at the end of the day.”
It’s hard to measure the impact a streak like this has in the early stages of a game, but it is clear that Rondo is well aware of how many assists he has as each game progresses. After eclipsing the 10 assist mark with under a minute remaining against the Bulls a few weeks back, Rondo had a clear fist pump--showing he was aware that the streak would live on. This fact alone could lead to Rondo pushing for an assist when keeping the ball for a layup may be a better option, which could change the flow of the Celtics offense in games to come.
The closer Rondo gets to matching Magic Johnson’s all-time 10 plus assist streak of 47 games, the more it will be in his head during the course of his pursuit. While Doc has no issue with Rondo pushing for the streak through the end of games, decisive or not, this may diminish the record as it isn’t exactly coming naturally.
Rondo adjusting his style of play to keep the assist streak alive raises the question that may sum up the controversy at hand: Is the assist streak as legit if Rondo is specifically forcing for it instead of letting the streak come naturally? Personally I would say it is not, as the true beauty of a streak is how natural it comes to the player that achieves it. Once you begin pushing for a streak, instead of putting the teams success as your main concern you have seemingly made your personal achievement your top priority. Look for this question to arise more the closer Rondo gets to achieving this admirable record.