Sunday , Dec , 07 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Rajon Rondo Turns Corner after Comments from Gary Payton

Only in his third season, Rondo is considered one of the weak links on a Boston team that features perennial All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. That’s how Payton seems to feel, comparing Rondo to players who ride superstars to championship rings while doing little more than waving towels from the bench.

"I respect the man’s game, I’m just saying, man, he got put into a situation," Payton said last month while serving as a studio analyst on NBA TV.

Rondo endured a horrific 5-for-24 shooting span over three games that started just before Payton’s remarks. The Celtics lost to the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 14 in the third game, then Rondo scored at least 15 points in seven of his next 10 outings.

"He’s been playing well. Ever since Gary Payton been hating on him, he’s been playing great," teammate Kendrick Perkins said. "But that’s Rondo. We know what he could do. Now he’s just really starting to show it."