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George Karl says he’s ‘battling a little bit’ with Rajon Rondo over defense

Before George Karl ever coached Rajon Rondo, he anticipated some interesting discussions with his point guard.

In Boston preparing for Sunday’s game, there were questions for Karl about how his relationship with the former Celtics star has evolved.

“I think Rajon is a challenge to coach from the standpoint you’re always talking the game with him because he knows the game. He’s a very intelligent basketball player,” Karl said. “Sometimes there’s a little bit too much debate, and as a coach I’ve got to learn when to open that window up and when to close that window down. I think that’s kind of where we’re at right now.”

Karl said lately they’ve talked about defense.

“He and I have been kind of battling a little bit trying get him to defend more consistently,” Karl said.

Rondo was asked what Karl wanted to see from him on defense.

“Ball pressure and try to help the bigs box out a little bit, for me individually,” Rondo said.

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Rondo has played well in Karl’s offense, leading the NBA with 11.7 assists per game.

“He’s not as strict; he gives a lot more freedom,” Rondo said of Karl. “... It’s allowed my game to evolve a little bit more.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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