Rondo’s Big Night Guides Lakers to 40th Win

by Rodrigo Azurmendi
Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES – The Lakers are enjoying one of their best stretches of outside shooting this season and Rajon Rondo wanted in on the action.

On a game where the Lakers coach shortened his rotation to nine guys, the veteran point guard went off – allowing L.A. to reach the 40-win mark before the All-Star break with one game to spare.

Rondo was phenomenal in his 27 minutes on the STAPLES Center hardwood.

The 14-year veteran took half a quarter to get going, but starting with the second he just wouldn’t be denied.

A pair of quick threes bookended a deuce assisted by LeBron James. Then came an 18-foot jumper. Then a floater. Then another 28-foot bomb. Six for six and 15 points heading to halftime.

“He was terrific tonight really, scoring the ball,” Frank Vogel said. “It’s really about reading defense. If teams are going to play him for the pass and force him to make shots, then he’s capable from the perimeter as he’s capable going to the basket.”

The second half would offer more of the same, with the Lakers breaking the game open midway through the third before coasting to a 25-point drubbing.

Rondo was a team-leading +22 after a masterful performance that included 23 points, four rebounds, a steal and six dimes – including this old trick that he still makes work in 2020:

“He was aggressive,” Anthony Davis added. “A lot of teams are going under, or stunting and leaving him open, and he was aggressive enough to take the shots tonight.”

Rondo wasn’t the only one buoyed by his coach’s confidence.

Continuing his February tour de force, Avery Bradley went 3-for-4 from downtown and is now shooting a ridiculous 62.1% on his 29 three-pointers this month.

Dwight Howard also had 14 points and 15 boards off the bench. Meanwhile, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 13 on just seven shots.

It definitely helps when you have LBJ igniting the break:

The 16-3 edge in offensive rebounds against a team lacking both of its top centers (Deandre Ayton and Aron Baynes) explained the rest of what would end up being the team’s 7th largest margin in a victory this season.

“It’s time to destroy teams and not give any teams any hope,” Howard said. “We have to dominate from the first quarter to the fourth quarter.”

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