Rondo owes rookie for keeping streak alive

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
8:00
AM ET
Allen Einstein/Getty ImagesJared Sullinger did much of his damage in the fourth quarter.
If Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo goes on to break Magic Johnson's NBA record for consecutive regular-season games with double-digit assists, he might want to buy rookie Jared Sullinger a little something nice for his efforts in keeping the run alive.

Sullinger erupted for 14 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 103-83 loss to the Detroit Pistons. Four of those field goals came in the final six minutes and accounted for the final four assists as Rondo scrambled to finish with 10 helpers.

Rondo now owns a 34-game streak of double-digit assists, but Sunday was as much as he's had to sweat during the stretch (though he did have similar close calls in Milwaukee and Chicago last week). Sullinger capped his night -- and Rondo's assist tally -- with a straight-away 21-foot jumper with 51 ticks to go.

Rondo is chasing both John Stockton (37) and Magic Johnson (46) for the NBA record for consecutive games with double-digit assists.

With the game out of reach, the Celtics were clearly hunting to prolong Rondo's streak, but given how cold everyone not named Sullinger was from the floor over the final three quarters, it might have been the rookie's young legs that saved Rondo's streak as Boston played its fourth game in five days (and seventh in 10 days).

"Why not? You guys keep talking about it, so I figured I'd give him a shot at it," Rivers said of intentionally gunning to extend Rondo's streak. "It's funny, the harder they tried, the worse we got at that. What did it come down to -- what, 50 seconds or something? Jared made two jumpers. I think Jared gave him it, so that was good. When I called the timeout I said, 'Guys, we're going to lose the game, by the way. Let's not play crazy, but if we can get him two more, let's do it. If not, that's it.' First time we've done that."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksK. Humphries 0.9