Last night at the Staples Center, the Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo outplayed the only point guard in the NBA that can rightly be considered a better all-around player than him at that position, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. His 14 points and 10 assists bested Paul's 14 points and 5 assists (on 3-for-12 FGA), and marked not only his 11th double-double of the season, but also helped Boston surprisingly beat the Clippers 94-85 to earn its first road victory on the second of back-to-back games of this shortened NBA season.
The chatter of Rondo heading out of Boston has been going on, then off, and now back on again since late November (weeks before the 66-game season started), when rumors of the sixth-year all-star being dealt to New Orleans for Paul first surfaced. Paul ended up being dealt to the Clippers, but Rondo is still part of the "Big Four" along with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.
With the March 15 trade deadline fast approaching, Celtics fans could be seeing the last days of this bunch together, which has brought home one NBA title in the 2007-2008 campaign, and came within minutes of winning another one two seasons later (over the Lakers, their opponent in both title runs). Boston general manager Danny Ainge has been adamant from the outset that Rondo, who is signed through the 2014-2015 season with $36 million left on his contract, is here to stay.
And not only should he, but all season and especially of late, he has been playing like a man on a mission to prove he is the guy to build around for the forseeable future. His epic and historic March 4 accomplishment of recording 20 assists, 17 rebounds and 18 points to lead the C's to victory in overtime against Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks said all you need to know about how valuable and special he is. He has a career-high four triple-doubles this season, while no one else has more than one so far.