LAS VEGAS – Even in the offseason, Rajon Rondo is apparently still calling plays.
Celtics Summer League Coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after Saturday night’s 88-87 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that the Celtics’ All-Star point guard, who was at the Thomas & Mack Center to support his team, talked him out of the play he wanted to run at the end of regulation.
Stephane Lasme battles for position under the hoop against the Milwaukee Bucks in Las Vegas Saturday night.
“We just tried to go directly into Jared (Sullinger), and see if we could get a quick basket or a getting fouled on something going to the basket,” Lue said.
The iso on the baseline for Sullinger, didn’t pan out, but either way, Rondo’s presence was a welcome one for the youngsters rounding out the Boston summer squad. That was especially true for Dionte Christmas, who found himself playing point guard. He said Rondo had plenty of insight for him during timeouts and stops in the action.
“I learned in about five minutes, so much from him, just by him talking and seeing things I didn’t see on the floor,” Christmas said of Rondo. “He was just telling me some things to do and it really helped.”
Whatever Rondo said must have worked, as Christmas handed out six assists on the night. Not bad for a guy not used to playing the one spot. He also had 17 points and seven rebounds, and at one point down the stretch in the fourth connected for six points on a pretty and-one layup and then a fadeaway 3-pointer to keep the Celtics alive.
In the first half, though, free throws were the only things keeping Boston afloat, as they hit 12 of their 14 first half foul shots. But the C’s shot just 26 percent from the field over the first two quarters, and missed 11 of their 14 3-point field goal attempts. Jamar Smith, who took 12 shots in the first half, hit just 3 shots overall but failed to connect on any of his five 3-pointers in the first two quarters.
“He’s a knock-down shooter. The only thing I get mad at him for is when he passes up a shot,” Lue said.
Smith hit just five of his 16 shots on the night, notching 16 points and joining four other Celtics in double-figures.
The Celtics play their final summer league tilt Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. PST when they face the Los Angeles Clippers. The game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net New England.