LOS ANGELES – Rajon Rondo has missed the basketball court and he is aware that everyone else is aware of how many Los Angeles Lakers games he has missed this season.
And after the Lakers' 116-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, Rondo showed both of these facts by deadpanning exaggerations of how much time he missed during three separate interview responses, saying he missed "74 games "before later changed this number to 60.
Rondo actually missed 34 of the Lakers (26-24) 50 games so far this season, though he thinks it feels like more.
"As I said, I've been playing for about 7 months," Rondo deadpanned for another question. "I don't know how I looked soundly, but apart from that, I see the movie and continue trying to improve."
Rondo may not feel that he is the best, but his return has given the Lakers a critical playmaker at a time when they literally have no one else, as Lonzo Ball and LeBron James miss the time of injury while Brandon Ingram showing playmaking is not the role that best suits him.
But Rondo's influence goes beyond just helper and postgame sarcasm, as the Lakers chief consultant Luke Walton explained after the game.
"He just makes the right game," Walton said. "There are some people who go out there and the hunt helps and will only make a passport if it's going to help, and it's not him. He has to do the right game and if it leads to help, do it, but if it causes someone to get a bucket, it is fine with it. "
Rondo's teammate Brandon Ingram and other Lakers have also all roasted the road Rondo has found out where everyone likes to catch The ball and their favorite spots on the track, delivering passes with the perfect speed and precise precision.
"Having a point guard as it makes the game a lot easier. He sees the floor really well. He sees the guys who are open. He makes games out there. He just makes sure guys feel safe and secure in their games , "Ingram said.
The Lakers needed all of these things because of how their crime fell from 16th in the league in offensive efficiency before James (and Rondo) were injured in Christmas Day to the 24th. With James apparently set to return within the week, and Rondo's ability to set up teammates in exactly the way they like it, finally, the Lakers can grow up after 16 games that have felt more like 60.  And while such chemistry and an instant searchable rolodex of where, when, and how each teammate desires their passages are usually not a fast-developing process, Rondo said that despite how many games he has missed this season, it didn't take long.
"The game comes pretty fast and easy for me, so I'm just trying to get guys on the same page," Rondo said. "My job as a spot guard on the floor … is to get the guys into open places where they can be most effective."
Rondo has done a good job on it when he is playing and although he feels like he's missing somewhere between 60 games and seven months, the Lakers are just happy that he has returned to the lineup.
"It's really nice to get him back. He knows who needs shots, who's hot. He knows how to manipulate screens (and) read defenses," Walton said. "Unfortunately, we haven't had much out there with our guys, but he makes the men comfortable and he gets good looks."
All quotes are obtained first time unless otherwise stated. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes Spotify Stitcher or Google Podcasts . All statistics per. NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com . You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen .