Rajon Rondo was a major reason last year’s Mavs didn’t succeed — because he played for them. Rajon Rondo is a major reason this year’s Mavs aren’t succeeding, too — because he’s playing against them.
Rondo, a cancerous presence who quit on the 2014-15 edition of the Mavs, is now in a Sacramento uniform and on Sunday had 11 points and 11 assists in a 133-111 home win over Dallas. He told ESPN that part of his inspiration for this game (the lowly Kings’ third win in four tries against Dallas this year) was to try to keep the Mavs out of the playoffs, just as the Kings usually are.
“Yeah, I want them to get their plane ticket as soon as we get ours,” said Rondo. “So any time we can help, that’s what I try to get (my teammates) to focus on.”
The Mavericks, meanwhile, are losing focus and losing ground. They are 35-38 and have lost three straight games and 10 of their last 12. The top eight teams make the Western Conference playoffs and Dallas sits in ninth place … just two slots ahead of the 29-44 Kings, who are in 11th, have no shot at the postseason … but have taken their shots at the struggling Mavs in ways that might just give Rondo his wish.
“If we’re not going to make the playoffs,’’ Rondo said, “then let’s help some of these guys go home with us.”