This season, there has been only one guy to record more than 20 assists in a game. And it was Rajon Rondo on Wednesday night. Rondo now as nine such outings, the most since he came into the NBA in 2007, putting him ahead of guys like Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Jason Kidd.
New Orleans’ 128-113 victory against Brooklyn was a tantalizing offensive display powered by Rondo. He focused all of his energy on setting up his teammates. The Pelicans shot 53 percent from the field for the game, boosted by the point guard’s aversion to attempt anything. At the end of the night, the 31-year-old had just five shots leave his hand, and only one fell. However, when you’re whipping the ball around as effortlessly as Rondo was, there’s no need to shoot.
“I love passing the ball,” said Rondo to William Guillory of the Times-Picayune. “When everyone touches the ball, it gives you energy and life on defense. That’s why I’m a big believer in giving everyone touches and energy on both ends of the floor.”
Four guys finished with more than 20 points last night. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 33 and 27, respectively, followed by Jrue Holiday (23) and E’Twaun Moore (20). In one way or another, Rondo was responsible for getting the ball to them. New Orleans gave him full control of the offense, and Rondo exploited whatever was open at the time. There were a handful of passes over the top of the defense to the bigs, who fought mismatches all night long.
The guards got their attempts off of Rondo’s penetration. He asserted his way into the paint whenever he wanted, and it was bizarre to see so much attention despite the affinity for passing. Rondo’s not complaining. As soon as that second defender came off of his man, the ball fell flawlessly into the shooter’s pocket like Rondo had installed some kind of heat-seeking technology.
As of Thursday, Rajon Rondo is one of nine guys since 1964 to dish out at least 25 assists, becoming the first since Kidd did so in 1996.
Anthony Davis had incredible success on the offensive end thanks to Rondo. Everything worked for him. He finished 11-of-19 from the floor and sunk all four of his threes. Furthermore, Davis was a monster on defense and swatted a season-high six shots.
Jimmy Butler is one of the NBA’s 10 best players. He scored 39 points in an overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets, and the highlight was him shouting “HE CAN’T F-K WITH ME” to Jamal Murray after hitting a go-ahead shot during the fifth period.