Rondo admits his effort has increased since moving to Dallas…
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Dallas Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo has conceded that his switch from the Boston Celtics has rejuvenated him and has forced him to play defense.
Rondo was traded to the Mavs a couple of weeks ago and he returned to Boston for the first time on Friday night and put up a season-high 29 points in a stellar performance with six rebounds and five assists.
However, he revealed that the move has reinvigorated him and he is now also playing defense at a high level as opposed to relying on other teammates during his last year or so in Boston.
“I haven’t played defense in a couple years,” Rondo said. “I’ve been able to hide a lot with Avery Bradley on the ball. He’s helped out, the young guy. But [in Dallas] they expect me to play defense and, in the West, if you don’t play defense you’ll get embarrassed every night at the point guard position.”
The Mavericks have gone 5-2 since Rondo arrived including Friday’s 119-101 win over Boston, while entering Friday, Dallas’ defensive rating with Rondo has improved by 4 and a half points while dipping from 105.1 points per 100 possessions over the first 28 games of the season to 100.6 in the six games since he arrived.
In addition, the Celtics have improved defensively since his departure and so there appears to be an element of truth in the comments despite the fact that Rondo’s individual stats have changed little.
Nevertheless, the former Boston star received a warm welcome from his former team on Friday and he will now be focused on helping Dallas push on and compete for a championship this season before hitting free agency in the summer.