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Rajon Rondo at work against the New York Knicks on Sunday.BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett was openly gushing about point guard Rajon Rondo and his 18-point, 17-rebound, 20-assist effort in a 115-111 overtime triumph over the New York Knicks on Sunday when he spotted a box score sitting on the table next to where reporters were huddled around him.
Garnett said he already had one copy in his possession but swiped another, just so he'd have proof of being on the court for Rondo's effort. That tells you all you need to know about Rondo's day against the Knicks.
So what exactly got into Rondo? Garnett hinted the confluence of a rumor-filled week and a national TV battle with Jeremy Lin on the other side of the court was more than enough to prod Rondo.
"I'll save this just as a witness that I was here and I actually got to see this up front and center," Garnett said of the box score. "The thing about Lin is, I think everybody who’s at the point guard position, [they are] already excited to play the kid, [Rondo] was nothing short of that today. I can see it and I can tell. I’ve been around him long enough to know when he’s motivated and when he’s more than motivated. Tonight was one of those nights."
Later Garnett continued, "You could see it on his face. Just like when he was playing Deron Williams [on Friday]. If you’re going to be anything in this league, you've got to play against your position. [And] trade talks really are a good motivating factor for him. If you know Rondo, he’s an I'll-show-you type of person, very motivated, and that's what you love about him. This game had enough juice on it for him to come out and play the way he played."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Rondo is only the third player in NBA history with at least 15 points, 20 assists and 15 rebounds in a game (Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson are the others).
For his part, Rondo shrugged off the idea that he foresaw this sort of game coming.
"No, I didn’t, honestly," Rondo said. "I just tried to make some great play-calling and it just worked out that my numbers showed up like they did.”
Said Paul Pierce, who was the beneficiary of eight of Rondo's assists, "He really stepped up. That’s the Rondo we like to see, playing with all that energy. He got guys the ball in the open spots, he did everything for us tonight. He rebounded, he passed, he got the clutch rebound there in overtime and got the layup. That’s the Rondo I like to see.”
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Rondo accounted for 64 of Boston's 115 points via points and assists, just one point shy of his season (and career) high in a triple-double against the Bulls last month. It's still the second highest total of his career.
A look at the games with the biggest point creation by Rondo during his career:
Feb. 12, 2012 -- Bulls -- 65
March 4, 2012 -- Knicks -- 64
Dec. 28, 2009 -- Warriors -- 63
Oct. 29, 2010 -- Knicks -- 62