Continued from page 1

Despite serving almost entirely as a backup last season, Rondo was called on to start and serve as table-setter for a Celtics attack that featured Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. That required rapid development in a short time, but Rondo has delivered, helping the team to the NBA Finals.

“He grew up over the season, but at the same time he’s gained respect from the guys who have been in the league a long time, and sometimes as a young guy that’s hard to do,” Garnett said of Rondo, who has averaged 10.6 points and 5.1 assists in his second season. “The only way to do that is through consistency in what you do in the weight room, on the court, listening. I think everybody is proud of Rondo this year. … I’m happy for him.”