Rajon Rondo Really Returned On Sunday

It took his seventh game since coming back from a torn ACL, but Rajon Rondo finally led his Celtics to a victory on Sunday against a visiting Orlando Magic team. True, the Magic — No. 13 in the haphazard Eastern Conference — wasn’t exactly a heavyweight, but after starting his 2013-14 season going 0-for-6, Rondo finally got a win, and he was the largest reason it even happened.

Rondo was 9-for-11 from the field on his way to his season-high 19 points — which included a three-pointer, not exactly his strength. He also showcased one of his trademark moves: the fake behind-the-back pass he scored with in his debut against the Lakers. Peep it:

Rondo added 10 dimes, six rebounds, three steals and four turnovers for good measure, but it’s the “W” that he’s happiest with. After losing his first six, Rondo’s finally got a win as the leader of the Celtics.

Head coach Brad Stevens thought Rajon looked the best he has since coming back, telling reporters after the game, via CSNNE.com, “Well, we’ve had a couple of times now, but I thought this was the most comfortable he’s looked (down the stretch). He did a lot of good things.”

Rondo downplayed the win, but mentioned his shooting, since his efficiency from all over the court really put the Celtics Over the Top.

“It’s just one game,” Rondo said. “I made a lot of my shots. I’m taking it one game at a time.”

Rajon was facing a Magic team that listened to the scouting report and went under the screens, daring Rondo to shoot a jumper many still consider iffy, even if it’s been quantitatively proven otherwise.

“They’re going under every screen. He (Rondo) has to shoot when they do that.” Stevens said after the game. “As long as he shoots it like this, it’s really a helpful thing for us.”

Magic coach Jacques Vaughn noted Orlando’s defensive philosophy to go under the screens and give Rondo open looks further out while preventing his penetration: “This game, everyone uses analytics and so did we. And we are going to play the percentages a lot of times.”

Except Rondo was ready to knock down those open jumpers as his shooting chart from the game shows:

Plus, Rajon’s saying all the right things you want from the leader of your team, even if he’s sometimes cranky with the media:

“I thought it was very important for us to start the month off (with a win),” Rondo said after the win. “We don’t have a very difficult month as far as games wise. We only play 11 games. There will be a lot of days where we get to rest so we need to take advantage of the opportunity we have to prepare for teams, to let our body heal, and to get some wins this month.”

(video via OfficialCelticsHD; Comcast SportsNet New England)

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