With it being Super Bowl Sunday and all, there was just one lonesome NBA game on the docket. And considering it was between two cellar dwellars in the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, one couldn't be blamed for not paying much attention to it.
However, while the 96-89 Celtics victory wasn't a notable outcome, Rajon Rondo's performance was. Rondo had been struggling mightily in his return from an ACL injury, averaging just 6.7 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 27.9 percent from the field in six games entering play Sunday.
But Rondo delivered the best effort of his young season against the Magic, finishing with 19 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals in the win. The point guard went 9-of-11 from the field, with his only two misses coming from beyond the arc.
Rondo showing signs of returning to his former self is obviously great news for the Celtics whether they intend to keep him long term or not. If Boston wants to keep and build around Rondo, seeing him play well has to make them feel better about his prognosis going forward. If the preference is to trade Rondo, him performing well likely makes it easier to move him.
Rondo got all the help he would need Sunday from a few of his fellow Celtics starters. Jared Sullinger led Boston with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Brandon Bass added 19 points and nine rebounds. Avery Bradley returned from an ankle injury and finished with 17 points in 33 minutes.
The Celtics led throughout pretty much the entire game, and they entered the fourth quarter up seven points. The Magic got to within one midway through the final frame and trailed 86-84 with just 2:30 left, but a Rondo jumper sparked a 6-0 run that put the game away.
Arron Afflalo had 18 points to lead the Magic, while Nikola Vucevic had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo went just 3-of-16 from the field as the Magic shot just 41.3 percent.