Rondo encourages C's in Vegas
July, 22, 2012
By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
Twitter/NBASummerLeagueRajon Rondo watches the Celtics' summer league squad on Saturday night.LAS VEGAS -- Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo visited the team's summer league squad in Las Vegas on Saturday, sitting on the bench with the players and coaching staff for the entirety of Boston's 88-87 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Rondo is the first rotation player to make an appearance in Vegas for the C's, and he didn't hesitate to dispense advice to many of the younger players on the roster.
"It was good for Rondo to come in and support the young guys," summer league coach Tyronn Lue said. "Guys have been playing hard, playing great. For him to come around and encourage guys, speaking up, having time in timeouts and stuff like that is good encouragement for them."
Dionte Christmas appeared to benefit from Rondo's presence more than any other player. Rondo pulled Christmas aside multiple times during Saturday's game, and Christmas came through with one of his best all-around efforts, totaling 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists -- his highest total of the summer.
"In about five minutes I learned so much from him, just by talking to him and him seeing things I didn't see on the floor," Christmas explained afterward. "Me, I never really play the point guard, but he was just telling me some things that I can see coming off, and I think it helped. I had six assists today, and he was just telling me some things to do at the [point guard spot], and it really helped. I can only imagine what a whole season would do playing under Rondo, so that would be great."
Rondo remained involved all the way down to the Celtics' final possession, and Lue admitted he had a hand in changing the final play, which ended up being an inbound in the left corner to Jared Sullinger, who drove through the lane for a sweeping hook shot that clanged off the back iron.
"Yeah, it was supposed to be a pin-down. Actually, Rondo talked me out of the play I wanted to run. He changed the play. Like always," Lue joked. "[Sullinger] was supposed to pin-down and then we'd throw it in direct to the post and then go to work, but Dionte was looking high the whole time, and then [Sullinger] was deep and he had to pop out, and it was a little too late for the play. We told him we wanted him to get a basket or two free throws."
Rondo was ushered to the team bus shortly after the game and didn't speak with reporters, but he's expected to be around again Sunday when the Celtics wrap up their summer league schedule against the Los Angeles Clippers at 6:00 p.m. ET.