Rondo among Celtics' elite

Updated: March 27, 2010, 2:45 AM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo set a team single-season record for steals Friday night against the Kings.

Rondo
Rondo

Rondo entered the game tied with Rick Fox, who set the franchise mark with 167 steals in 1996-97. Rondo established the record with a second-quarter pickpocket of Sean May with 4:39 to play in the half.

Before the game, Rondo joked about not having the record yet and, with 11 games to play, said, "I hope I trip and fall on one tonight."

The real suspense came when Rondo was credited with a first-quarter steal only to have it retracted soon after. He had to wait for his second shift on the floor to set the mark.

After the game, Rondo's teammates playfully chided him about also setting a new franchise record for single-season gambles.

"I'd get a lot more [steals] if I were a gambler," said Rondo, who leads the NBA at 2.39 steals per game, and, with three thefts Friday night in a 94-86 triumph over the Kings, 170 steals overall (30 more than the nearest competitor -- Golden State's Monta Ellis -- entering Friday's action).

"The guys were saying I have the record for most steals and most gambles in one season. I don't know if you keep that stat, but..."

Rondo's gambles are actually down from past seasons, when you could actually make the case that he set franchise (and maybe league) marks for gambling, often trying to poke the ball away from opposing guards as they blew past him toward the basket.

"It means he's a better defender," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "You can lead the league in steals and not gamble all the time. You can be solid and still get a lot of steals. That's what he's done."

Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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