BOSTON -- There's little else Rajon Rondo can do right now.
As his Celtic teammates continued to labor through their early season struggles throughout Boston's latest loss to a playoff-bound team Friday night -- this one an 88-79 downfall to the Chicago Bulls -- Rondo put himself back in the driver's seat to try and jump start the Celtics' stalled offensive motor. Rather than focusing purely on scoring like he did during Wednesday's 90-85 loss to the Mavericks in which he chipped in a game-high 24 points, Rondo had a hand in every area for Boston on Friday, tallying 14 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals, as another valiant comeback effort fell short.
But it was his focus on initiating some sort of offense for Boston that held the most weight. Friday's first quarter was arguably the most dismal yet, as the C's registered a mere 13 points on 5-of-20 shooting. Brandon Bass, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett all missed shots they normally make, and with no rhythm forming, Rondo's hand was forced, and he once again became a free-wheeling, full-court titan, attempting to create easy baskets for himself and others, as Chicago threatened to pull away midway through the frame.
"I'm being a lot more aggressive this year," said Rondo. "That's what the sideline and the coaching staff is telling me -- try to make something happen. I don't want to try to do it by myself, because it's a team effort, but at the same time, I'm just trying to get easy looks. I think that's what we need as a team, is just to get in an early rhythm."
The results were mixed, though Rondo can't be the one pointed at for Boston's mediocre point output for the quarter. He continued pushing the pace well into the second frame, putting the ball in a position on a fast break for Chris Wilcox to throw down a put-back dunk, then feeding Wilcox for another jam on the right side less than a minute later.
Rondo earned a technical foul after a failed fast break attempt when he and Derrick Rose collided and the officials deemed it an offensive foul. The foul was debatable, but Rondo's intentions were not. The easier the look the better for Boston right now, and with those opportunities in limited supply, Rondo went out of his way to try to create new ones.
"We keep saying it, but one of these games, we've got to click," he said. "It's just not happening right now, but the main thing is for us to stay positive and stay together. We're going through a lot of adversity, but we'd rather have it now than at the end of the season."
"But when we get it, we'll be tough to deal with."
When (if?) the Celtics do get it, don't be surprised if the finished package has Rondo's name written all over it.