Rondo, Chris Paul a study in contrasts
Rajon Rondo hasn't scored 31 points all season.
To say the two point guards in Sunday night's Celtics-Hornets clash exhibit contrasting styles is an understatement. And while Rondo certainly can score the way Paul can -- he put up at least 20 points more than a dozen times last season -- he's at his best when he's not scoring.
Two nights ago against the Chicago Bulls, Rondo took just two shots and finished with just two points -- and Celtics coach Doc Rivers pronounced his point guard "the most dominant player on the floor."
"Sixteen assists and eight rebounds," Rivers said, "and he controlled the tempo."
The last time Rondo outscored Paul head-to-head coincided with the Hornets' last win over the Celtics. Rondo scored 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting, finishing with more points than Paul as well as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Paul, on the other hand, scored 19 points and generally deferred to the hot hand of David West as the Hornets handed the eventual NBA champions one of just three losses they'd suffer during their final 18 games.
Since then, Rondo has averaged just 11 points per game against the Hornets -- and his Celtics have won three straight times.
Paul doesn't have the weapons around him that Rondo does; no other New Orleans player has scored more than 20 points in a game this season. If Paul doesn't score 20 points on Sunday night, the Hornets might be in trouble.
Rondo, on the other hand, will have to keep creating. The Celtics built a 15-point halftime lead on the Bulls with consistent ball movement and penetration. Rondo had as many assists (six) at intermission as the entire Bulls team, and the Celtics shot 60.7 percent from inside the 3-point arc even before they put the game away in the third quarter.
A handful of other notes from the TD Garden: The old Posey and the new Posey: James Posey, the celebrated sixth man from the Celtics' title team two seasons ago, will make his second appearance in Boston since his departure. He scored six points in 25 minutes of action when the Celtics hosted the Hornets a year ago.
Newcomer Marquis Daniels drew praise from his teammates for his play on Friday night -- a big deal given that Daniels is expected to fill a Posey-like role off the bench for the Celtics this season. Daniels played 25 minutes against the Bulls, more than Garnett or Ray Allen, and finished with seven points, four assists and two rebounds.
"I take great solace in knowing that Marquis is coming in the game or Eddie [House] is coming into the game or Rasheed [Wallace] is coming into the game," said Allen, who sat for much of Friday's first half with foul trouble. "Those guys are highly capable. They're starters on most teams in the NBA."
Okafor picks it right up: Former UConn star Emeka Okafor missed the entire preseason with a toe injury, but that didn't seem to hold him back. He has double-doubles in each of the Hornets' first two games, and he's shot better than 57 percent from the field in back-to-back games.
New Orleans acquired Okafor in an offseason trade for Tyson Chandler. In the Hornets' win over the Kings, Okafor scored 11 points and snagged a game-high 13 rebounds.
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