Dallas Mavericks

It’s heads up for Mavericks when Rondo’s on the floor

Newly acquired guard Rajon Rondo had nine assists in his Mavericks debut.
Newly acquired guard Rajon Rondo had nine assists in his Mavericks debut. Special to the Star-Telegram

There’s something very important the Dallas Mavericks have already learned about Rajon Rondo after just one shootaround, one game and one practice.

The mercurial point guard has a flair for making the unusual pass, so the Mavs must be on high alert at all times. Or else they may find a pass leaving a harmful dent in their face.

“Just have your hands up the whole time,” forward Chandler Parsons said of Rondo’s spectacular passes. “You don’t want to take one off the dome.

“He’s always looking, he’s always trying to get you easy shots and easy buckets, and that’s the type of guy you want to play with.”

After very early returns, forward Dirk Nowitzki said of Rondo: “I like playing with him and so does everybody else.”

In his debut with the Mavs during Saturday’s 99-93 win over the San Antonio Spurs’ second and third units, Rondo had six points, seven rebounds, nine assists, two steals, four turnovers and four fouls, and was 3 of 11 from the field.

Known for his flair for the dramatics and flashy passes, Rondo was the starting point guard — and had Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen at his disposal — when the Boston Celtics captured the 2008 NBA title. Does the scoring trio of Monta Ellis, Nowitzki and Parsons compare favorably to the aforementioned Celtics?

“It’s too early to say right now, but I know I’m playing with a lot of great talent around me,” Rondo said. “I had a lot of great, hard workers in Boston, but this group in particular, I think Monta’s averaging around 20 and Chandler Parsons is around the same and Dirk speaks for himself.

“So we have a lot of great talent and a lot of guys that can come off the bench and contribute. I’m just looking forward to coming in and making my teammates better and win a title.”

For now, the Mavs (20-8) just want to win their fourth straight game when they host the Atlanta Hawks (19-7) at 7:30 p.m. Monday at American Airlines Center. And they know as Rondo gets settled with his new teammates, the long-term outlook could be something fantastic.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, but the more he plays with us and the more we practice together, the more comfortable he’ll get, the better we’ll be together,” Parsons said. “He causes havoc defensively with his length and his size, so I think he’s going to help our offense by just pushing the ball.

“He’s got great players playing around him and we should be able to make his job a little bit easier, and I think he’s going to be a good fit.”

Ellis on All-Star pace

Ellis continues to show why it’s going to be a very tough call for the Western Conference coaches to keep him off this season’s All-Star roster.

Ellis, who averages a team-high 21.3 points per game, tied his season-high Saturday with 38 points on 15-of-23 shooting in the win over the Spurs. That gives Ellis six 30-point games this season — one more than he had last season.

“Monta was phenomenal all game,” said Nowitzki, who has 12 All-Star appearances. “I don’t think we would have had a chance to be in position to win if it wasn’t for him.

“I think as he gets older and as he gets more experience, I think the game slows down for you, you see exactly what’s out there. He doesn’t rush anything, he’s just taking what the defense gives him, and he looks comfortable taking that 16-17-footer now that people seem to give him.”

It’s unlikely that Ellis will be named a starter for the All-Star game in the fan balloting. But if the Mavs keep winning and have a representative in the midseason classic, Ellis will most likely represent the Mavs — if the coaches vote him in.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @dwainprice

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