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Celtics notebook

Rondo assists helping cause

Streak continues for point guard

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / April 12, 2012
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Rajon Rondo’s spectacular assist run continued in the Celtics’ 88-86 overtime win over Atlanta Wednesday night at TD Garden. Rondo completed his 19th successive double-figure assist game with a 10-point, 10-rebound, 20-assist performance.

But the statistics are not impressing coach Doc Rivers.

“I know he’s on a run,’’ Rivers said. “I don’t even know what the run is. Honestly, I don’t even know what that [double-figure assist streak] means. I know it means he’s playing very well but I don’t need the numbers to tell me that.

“He’s playing extremely well, he’s just been spectacular. And that’s why we’re winning. It’s not just him, it’s everybody. But we need a locked-in effort from him every night and he’s doing that.’’

Rondo played all 29 minutes of the second half and overtime.

“It was a fatigue game and Rondo’s come into those and struggled,’’ Rivers said. “And tonight he willed that game. He begged to stay in in the fourth quarter - he didn’t have to beg long.’’

Rondo also committed six of the Celtics’ 19 turnovers.

“Well, it starts with me,’’ Rondo said. “I take care of the ball, we do it as a team. I think I dominate the ball a lot, more than anybody, so I try to be more conscious when I am turning the ball over in the first half.

“But, overall, I think we’ve got to slow down as a team, try to execute our sets, not forcing things.

“I just win, simple as that. When I get those assists, triple-doubles, I’m just glad we’re winning games.’’

Rondo’s streak started with a 10-assist outing in a 97-94 loss to the Lakers March 11.

“You talk about KG [Kevin Garnett], Paul [Pierce], Ray [Allen], but this guy certainly is the head of the snake,’’ Atlanta coach Larry Drew said of Rondo before the game. “He has the ability to affect the game in a lot of different areas. And he’s gotten better and better.’’

Mistaken identity

The Celtics followed their two best shooting percentage games of the season - wins over Philadelphia (58.8 percent) Sunday and Miami (60.6 percent) Tuesday - with an uneven offensive effort.

“The byproduct of having a great offensive night is you show up the next night and you think you’re an offensive team,’’ Rivers said. “And that’s how I felt. It was almost like shoot the ball so we can get it back and score. And then we turned into the Celtics.’’

Before the Philadelphia game, the Celtics’ best shooting game was a 52.2 percent effort in December against Detroit.

Allen sits out

Ray Allen missed the game because of a swollen ankle but is expected to join the team for Friday’s visit to Toronto, according to Rivers.

Allen has been struggling with ankle problems recently - he was out for six straight games before returning for five, four as a reserve. Allen averaged more than 32 minutes of playing time in the last five contests.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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