Dallas Mavericks

Opponents trying to force Rondo into a shooting position

Opponents rather have Rajon Rondo shoot than penetrate and distribute through their defenses.
Opponents rather have Rajon Rondo shoot than penetrate and distribute through their defenses. TNS

DALLAS By halftime of Monday night’s at American Airlines Center against the Atlanta Hawks, point guard Rajon Rondo had as many shot attempts (10) as Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons combined.

That’s not exactly the script the Mavs envisioned when they acquired the pass-happy Rondo in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics last Thursday. But things got so muddied up during the 105-102 loss to the Hawks that Rondo often found himself along and wide open for jumpers during most of the first half.

At last, Rondo missed seven of his 10 first-half attempts, but the Mavericks see better days ahead.

“Rondo, he’s got the best vision I’ve seen since Jason Kidd, he and Kidd are very, very similar,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “They see everything out there.

“He’s going to pass first, but it’s hard to be an effective pass-first point guard taking it out of the other team’s goal. Even when you try to run it up, it’s too easy for them to set their defense.’’

Rondo did find enough seams in the Hawks’ defense to contribute 13 points and distribute 11 assists in his second game with the Mavericks. He also picked up four rebounds and three steals was 6-of-15 from the field.

Carlisle isn't against Rondo taking perimeter shots when he’s left as wide open as the Hawks left him.

“He’s got to take rhythm shots when they’re there, and he knows that and we’re spending time on it,’’ Carlisle said. “This is a beginning for him here.

“He’s got a different set of teammates, he wasn’t seeing this kind of coverage quite like this playing with Dirk (Nowitzki) and playing with Ellis and some of these other guys. Look, I like his aggression, I like the way he played tonight and he’s going to continue to shoot the ball better as we go along.’’

Parsons, who scored four points and fouled out after making just 2-of-6 shots, knew there would be an adjustment period before Rondo gets accustomed to his new surroundings.

“Playing on a new team isn’t the easiest thing to do,’’ said Parsons, in his first year with the Mavs after spending three years with Houston. “It’s not going to happen overnight.

“But every time we come to the gym and we practice and we watch film and work together I think it’s going to help us in the long run.’’

Still, with the double-digit assist total Rondo was able to rack up, the Mavericks know they have a diamond on their hands at point guard.

“You know it’s going to tasked time and we knew that and it’s going to have its ups and downs,’’ Parsons said of Rondo. “But we definitely want a player like him and we’ll get it down.

“We just can’t get down that much. And Atlanta is playing well right now, so they force you to take tough shots and we didn’t make any tonight.’’

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram