The end of Rajon Rondo’s weekend was a tad more pleasant than its start. The Celtics point guard churned out his best performance since returning from an ACL injury on Jan. 17 as he scored 19 points, dished out 10 assists and pulled down six boards in a 96-89 Celtics win over Orlando Sunday at TD Garden.
Rondo caught some flak from members of the green-backing disgruntled at the tail-end of last week when he said he “may want to go through” the free agency process at the end of next season instead of re-signing with Boston in the coming months.
“It’s kind of like college recruiting,” Rondo said last week. “I’m pretty sure a lot more goes into it in the NBA. A lot more money is spent.”
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This news didn’t sit well with those who had been uninspired by the flashy C’s leader recently. Rondo had averaged just 6.7 points and 5.7 assists since his return to the team and the Celtics had only won once since he came back – a 113-111 victory over Washington in which he did not play due to fatigue concerns.
The timing of his admission of interest in free agency was disconcerting for some, given that the Celtics had just named him team captain and that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had just openly discussed on radio the franchise’s determination to make Rondo a Celtic for the longterm.
But as Rondo has done many times in the past, he quelled potential controversy with his play, leading the C’s to just their third win of the new year. Boston shot 50 percent from the floor against the Magic.
“We didn’t stop pushing the pace even though we had the lead,” Rondo told the AP. “We finally finished a game strong. They made a run at it, but at the end of the day we still got some stops when we needed and made the plays.”
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS