Rajon Rondo sidelined with injury, assist streak stands at 23

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From the Telegram…

Before his Celtics took on Orlando last night, coach Doc Rivers rattled off the names of his players who wouldn’t play because of injuries.

“No Rondo, no Ray, no Pietrus,” Rivers said. “If you don’t mind, can I stop there? That’s good enough.”

Rajon Rondo, who had dished out double-digit assists in 23 consecutive games, sat out with spasms after injuring his back the night before in New York. Ray Allen missed his sixth consecutive game with a sore right ankle. Mickael Pietrus was sidelined for the second game in a row by a sore right knee.

Rivers doesn’t expect any of the three to play tomorrow night when the Celtics visit Atlanta. Avery Bradley started at the point and Sasha Pavlovic began at shooting guard.

The injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time because the Celtics are trying to finish with a better record than Orlando and Atlanta so they’d have home court advantage in the event they face them in the playoffs.

“If you can get it, it’s great,” Rivers said of the home court. “But health, rest, if I’m going to choose, I’m clearly going to go with rest and health.”

Orlando and Atlanta have injury woes of their own. Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu are out for the Magic, and Al Horford has missed most of the season for Atlanta.

The good news is that Rivers said Rondo’s right wrist felt better; he tweaked it in New York. That’s the same wrist that sidelined Rondo for 10 games in January.

Rivers is most concerned about Allen, who has missed 12 games this season with a sore right ankle. The ankle hasn’t improved. Rivers hopes Allen can play Tuesday at home against Miami in Boston’s next-to-last regular-season game, but he’s not even sure if he’ll be back for the playoffs, which begin April 28 or 29.

“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Rivers said. “I don’t think much more than tomorrow. But there’s just concern that the ankle is not responding and we need him.”

Pietrus’s surgically repaired knee swelled up after he played three games in three nights. Previously, he sat out 10 games with a concussion.

“We didn’t anticipate that,” Rivers said, “but if we could do a do-over, we probably would have sat him in one of those three games as well.”

Hopefully Rondo can get back to being healthy as soon as possible, because he has been re-writing the Celtics records books the last couple of months. Not playing last night won’t affect his passing streak of 10+ assists, which now stands at 23 games. The next best Celtic passing streak is Bob Cousy and Nate Archibal with 7.

John Stockton’s longest passing streak with at least 10+ assists is 29 games, so Rondo has a real chance of breaking that. The king of assist streaks though, is none other than Magic Johnson, who had an extremely impressive 49 straight games with at least 10 assists.

In my opinion, the only reason Rondo might not catch Magic Johnson is because his teammates aren’t knocking down their shots. Rondo is the best passer in the NBA, and it’s not even close Steve Nash.

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