During what was supposed to be a point guard matchup for the ages in the most recent Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets game, Rajon Rondo's temper came out full force, as he attacked the much bigger Kris Humphries.
For Rondo and Celtics fans everywhere, the 1-1 showing without the All-Star point guard isn't the issue. The issue is that the 10-or-more-assists-a-game streak is over.
Rondo has seemingly done everything he can so far this season to go for the all-time record for consecutive games with 10 or more assists, including staying in a blowout game just to get a last-minute assist against the Detroit Pistons.
However, despite the most obscure record in the league out of Rondo's grasp for quite awhile, there is a silver lining to Rondo's streak coming to a close. The upside of this debacle is that Rondo is going to start putting together MVP-type stats instead of having his priorities a bit misconstrued.
For those who don't remember, Rondo wasn't a first-ballot All-Star last season. It took a Stephan Curry injury to get Rondo into the skills challenge contest at All-Star weekend.
Rondo didn't start garnering MVP talk until late last season, when he led the average, old, and injured Boston Celtics to an Atlantic Division crown.
As last season went on, Rondo's numbers got better. During the playoffs—a playoffs that saw the C's within 12 minutes of an appearance in the NBA Finals—Rondo's stat line night-in and night-out was ridiculous.
He averaged roughly 17 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds a game, all while playing 42 minutes a night. Not to mention his Eastern Conference Game 2 performance that saw him play every minute (including overtime) and rack up an absurd 44 points, 10 assists and eight boards.
Rondo's only goal during the playoffs was obvious. His goal was to win. Rondo wasn't worried about a record of any kind.
Now, with the pursuit of the record behind him, Rondo finds his Celtics 9-8 overall and fourth in the Atlantic Division. The C's are struggling and in desperate need of wins, and that is when Rondo's game shines brightest. He's not going to have his focus sidetracked, the only focus is getting wins.
This is not to say that Rondo wasn't going for wins in the previous 14 games. He was, but that wasn't his main focus. As much as he wanted to win, he still had assist totals in his mind while on the court.
With the record out of mind, Rondo will play for wins and wins alone, just like he did during last postseason. The assist numbers will stay the same even without his focus on them. For the C's to win, he will need to dish the rock, only this time he won't be giving up easy looks at the hoop for a chance at another assist.
With Rondo's shooting percentage up this season, and nothing on his mind but Banner 18, look for Rondo's game to start to flow and his numbers to become more balanced.
With those balanced numbers, we may even see the MVP title return to Boston.