Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo Passes Bill Russell as Boston Celtics 5th All-Time Leader in Assists

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 9: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics passes the ball against the Detroit Pistons on March 9, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

Rajon Rondo is years away from consistently being mentioned in the same breath as Boston Celtics greats, but on Sunday night he earned the right to be compared to the franchise's greatest luminary. 

In the Celtics' 118-111 win over the Detroit Pistons, Rondo recorded a season-high 18 assists and zero turnovers, passing Bill Russell for fifth all-time in franchise history in the process. 

Rondo entered the night with 4,083 career dimes, but carved up the Pistons' defense, tying Russell with his 17th assist before passing him with a feed that resulted in a Kris Humphries reverse layup with just under two minutes remaining in regulation. 

"He's one of the best passers in small areas that I've ever seen," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of Rondo, according to NBA.com's Marc D'Amico

According to Basketball-Reference, Sunday marked the first time that Rondo recorded at least 18 assists without a turnover during a regular season game, although he did accomplish the feat in Game 6 of the Celtics' first-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls in 2009. 

In addition, Rondo became just the 11th player to drop 18 dimes and not cough the rock up since 1985-86 and is the first player to do so since Steve Nash in 2007, according to Basketball-Reference

Next in line to be passed by Rondo? That would be his former teammate, Paul Pierce, who occupies the No. 4 spot with 4,305 assists.

To put things in perspective, Pierce required 15 seasons to pile up that many helpers whereas Rondo is approaching that esteemed mark in just his eighth year in green and white. 

Granted, Pierce and Rondo play positions that require different levels of selflessness, but Rondo's accomplishments in such a short span have been impressive nonetheless.   

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