Rondo, a 6-foot-1 point guard, scored a season-high 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds and added seven assists, led Boston to a 119-111 comeback win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
"I think when he's on like he's on tonight, we're unbeatable," Paul Pierce said. "With me, Kevin (Garnett) and Ray (Allen) on a night in, night out basis, Rajon is now starting to develop that consistency as a player."
Ray Allen scored 25 points, Pierce 21 and Garnett 21 with 13 rebounds as the Celtics overcame a 14-point, third-quarter deficit for their sixth straight win.
"We know the kid has a lot of toughness in him," Garnett said of Rondo. "He plays very, very hard. Like Paul said, we rode him the whole second half. He started it and we just fed off it."
It didn't figure to be much of a matchup after the Warriors, who lost by 24 points at struggling Washington on Tuesday, fell behind by 10 points early.
"We had them on their heels and weren't able to close it out," Jackson said. "The key to them winning this game was Rondo."
The game featured the NBA's leading defensive team, Boston, against one of the league's highest-scoring offenses.
"We played about as well as we could play. We just didn't have enough for them," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "It was a good night for everybody. They turned the pressure up and made it very difficult for use to score."
The lead changed hands seven times in the final quarter before Boston took it for good on Tony Allen's three-point play, making it 103-102 with 6:43 remaining. Allen collected Garnett's airball in the lane, scored on a layup and was fouled.
After Maggette missed a jumper on the other end, Garnett converted a three-point play on Boston's next possession to increase it to 106-102.
Rondo's follow pushed Boston's lead to six and Ray Allen nailed a 3-pointer from in front of the Warriors' bench, making it 113-104 with 3½ minutes left.
Boston, which trailed 67-54 at halftime, opened the second half with a 22-10 run to climb back into it. Pierce's turnaround jumper in the lane gave the Celtics an 84-83 edge, their first lead since midway into the second quarter, and they led 86-83 after three.
Rondo scored 16 in the third, sparking the offense with his defense and turning it into transition baskets.
"I tried to use my speed to my advantage and get in the paint and create shots," Rondo said.
"We won the game, and we'll take it, but it's a good lesson for us," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
Boston started as if it was going to be a blowout win, grabbing a 30-20 lead nearly eight minutes into the game, before the Warriors got rolling.
Trailing 40-30 early in the second, Golden State, which entered as the league's third-best scoring team at 103.3 points per game, outscored Boston 28-8 over a 6:18 stretch en route to its 13-point lead at intermission. Maggette scored 13 in the run.
|The Warriors try and hold off a Boston comeback, but Ray Allen (25 points) and the C's have other plans. (AP)|
|Golden State (5-10)||28||39||16||28||111|
|Boston (14-2) «||35||19||32||33||119|
|GS:C. Maggette 32 Pts
GS:A. Biedrins 9 Reb
GS:S. Jackson 6 Ast
|BOS:R. Allen 25 Pts
BOS:K. Garnett 13 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 7 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|S. Jackson, SG||45||11-18||5-7||5||6||2||30|
|A. Biedrins, C||42||4-9||0-2||9||4||4||8|
|C. Maggette, SF||37||12-20||6-8||4||1||4||32|
|J. Crawford, SG||37||5-17||6-6||6||6||3||18|
|B. Wright, SF||13||1-4||0-0||4||1||2||2|
|K. Azubuike, SF||23||0-3||5-6||2||1||1||5|
|R. Turiaf, PF||22||1-3||0-0||2||1||4||2|
|C. Watson, PG||16||4-4||2-2||1||1||0||10|
|R. Kurz, SF||3||1-1||2-2||1||0||2||4|
|A. Randolph, SF||1||0-0||0-0||0||0||2||0|
|M. Williams, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Belinelli, SG||Did Not Play|
|R. Hendrix, PF||Did Not Play|
|A. Morrow, SG||Did Not Play|
|D. Nelson, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|P. Pierce, SG||40||6-14||9-9||6||5||4||21|
|R. Allen, SG||39||10-17||0-0||3||3||4||25|
|K. Garnett, PF||38||9-23||3-3||13||3||3||21|
|R. Rondo, PG||35||9-15||4-4||8||7||2||22|
|K. Perkins, C||29||3-6||3-4||8||3||2||9|
|T. Allen, SG||21||3-7||3-5||1||0||3||9|
|E. House, SG||13||0-1||0-0||2||0||2||0|
|G. Davis, PF||13||1-1||7-7||3||0||2||9|
|B. Scalabrine, PF||7||0-1||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|L. Powe, PF||6||0-2||3-4||3||0||1||3|
|S. Cassell, PG||Did Not Play|
|P. O'Bryant, C||Did Not Play|
|G. Pruitt, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Giddens, SG||Did Not Play|
|B. Walker, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|