Rajon Rondo’s recent play has impressed Kings coach George Karl beyond the statistics.
Over the past four games, Rondo has posted three triple doubles; played all 48 minutes in back-to-back games; and is averaging 14.8 points, 14.0 assists and 9.8 rebounds.
Karl finds Rondo’s mastery of the offense at this stage of the season just as impressive as the numbers.
“In general, I think with a bunch of new guys coming together, it takes some time to get a feel for everything – rotations, play calls, what type of options you want,” Karl said before the Kings’ 111-109 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.
Karl said the offense under Rondo’s direction in Wednesday’s win over Detroit was as good as it has been to start the season.
The Kings scored 61 points in the first half and shot 64.1 percent, their best in a half this season.
“Rajon is very intelligent there, and I think he’s ahead of the curve,” Karl said. “I’ve been surprised by the numbers he’s putting up from the standpoint of understanding our team.”
Finally some rest – Seth Curry replaced Rondo with 11:15 left in the second quarter on Friday, assuring Rondo would not play 48 minutes for the third consecutive game.
Rondo went a little more than nine quarters, about 109 minutes, before finally getting a break and finishing with 44 minutes. Not that he rested much in the game before his two 48-minute efforts. He played 44 minutes last Saturday against Golden State in recording a triple double.
During those three games, Rondo’s primary backup, Darren Collison, and Curry were injured, so Rondo had to play plenty of minutes.
In the last four games, Rondo has averaged 14.8 points, 14.0 assists and 9.8 rebounds.
Collison missed his fourth consecutive game Friday with a left hamstring strain. Curry had been bothered by a sprained right ankle.
Curry brings a different element to the floor than Collison, who when healthy has played well with Rondo and backing him up.
“I think Seth’s kind of a scoring guard that’s trying to become a point guard,” Karl said. “I think Darren’s always been more of a speed point guard. I think Seth is crafty and for a young player, I think he understands the game at a good level.”
More changes – Illness forced the Kings to use their eighth different starting lineup in 10 games.
Rudy Gay missed the game with a stomach virus. Karl said the small forward felt ill after Thursday’s practice and notified team medical staff around 11:30 p.m. that he felt worse.
Caron Butler started for the first time this season, in place of Gay. Butler joined Rondo, James Anderson, DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Assignment – Rookie forward Duje Dukan was assigned to the Kings’ NBA Development League affiliate in Reno on Friday.
The undrafted rookie from Wisconsin had not appeared in a regular-season game.