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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Doc dishes on assists

By Greg Payne

Mark L. Baer/US PresswireDoc Rivers doesn't think it was a big deal he helped Rajon Rondo prolong his assist streak.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers cooked up plenty of chatter for leaving Rajon Rondo in for the final minutes of a blowout loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday evening with the goal of getting Rondo's 10th assist of the night and prolonging his streak of double-digit assist games.

In the days since, Rondo's streak -- currently 34 games -- along with the point guard position in general, have come into greater focus, and after Tuesday's practice, Rivers discussed both in more detail.

"We were getting blown out and I just told him to stay in and get it," Rivers said of Rondo's streak. "But I didn't know what. I knew it was a 10-assist streak, and [the media makes] a bigger deal of it than me. And I'm sure, Rondo, it's probably a big deal, and I guess as an individual, it'd be great to have. But I want the Celtics to win, at the end of the day."

Rivers, a former point guard himself, did acknowledge how difficult it can be to pile up 10 assists in a single game, let alone 34 consecutive ones.

"It's hard. You've got to have good players," said Rivers. "You are not doing it by yourself, I can tell you that. And I guarantee you, and I don't know what the list it, if you go through the top five, I bet none of them are on bad teams. I guarantee you that."

With the exception of his 20-assist performance in a convincing home win over the Toronto Raptors last weekend, Rondo's streak has come down to the wire several times in recent games, with Sunday's loss serving as the most recent example. This started talk about how an assist is recorded by the game's official scorekeeper, and how the interpretation can change arena to arena -- something Rivers had plenty of experience with in his playing days.

"To me, it depends on the arena. Honestly," Rivers said. "And I'm not going to say the arena names, but as a player, I knew in some arenas -- we used to laugh about it -- I'd go into a couple arenas that I knew for a fact, and jokingly say, 'I've got 10 tonight! Let's see how many more I can get.' I mean, there's no doubt that some arenas are very good, and then there are a couple where you're like, 'Wow, you have to earn.' I mean, it literally has to be a pass and a shot, you know? In some arenas, it's a pass that leads to the shot. It means he could take five dribbles. That's just the way it is.

"I can tell you the toughest arena, I thought at times, was Washington. I used to think, 'What do you have to do to get an assist there?' I'm not going to tell you the good arenas. You can figure them out."

Regarding the point guard position, Rivers acknowledged the evolution of the players performing at that spot.

"I don't think it's changed at all. I just think there's different guys playing it," Rivers said. "I think there's different types of point guards now. There's more different types of point guards than there used to be. There used to be just pure point guards. Now, there are scoring points, there's no points that run point. It's all kinds of point guards now. It's probably better for the game this way, when there's different types."