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Stealing the show

BOSTON -- With a second-quarter pickpocket of Sean May, Rajon Rondo established a new Boston benchmark for single-season steals, moving him out of a tie with Rick Fox, who registered 167 thefts during the 1996-97 season.

But just because your name is featured in the Celtics' record book doesn't mean teammates treat you any differently.

As the TD Garden staff acknowledged Rondo's accomplishment with a message on the JumboTron that elicited a standing ovation from the crowd, his teammates playfully chided him about also setting a new franchise record for single-season gambles.

The insinuation there is that Rondo's success is based on luck. Clearly, the 24-year-old point guard would like to think it's more skill.

"I'd get a lot more [steals] if I were a gambler," said Rondo, who leads the NBA at 2.39 steals per game, and, with three thefts Friday night in a 94-86 triumph over the Kings, 170 steals overall (30 more than the nearest competitor -- Golden State's Monta Ellis -- entering Friday's action).

"The guys were saying I have the record for most steals and most gambles in one season. I don't know if you keep that stat, but..."

Sitting nearby during the postgame press conference, Kevin Garnett instantly piped in, "Yeah, we keep it. [Celtics media relations czar Jeff] Twiss got it. He just got told."

Truth be told, Garnett beamed like a proud papa while talking about Rondo's accomplishment. In a press conference that typically spans five or six minutes, Garnett and Rondo sat at the podium for more than 13 minutes, much of it spent gushing about Rondo etching his name in Celtics' lore.

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