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Celtics showed intelligence by acquiring backcourt star Rondo

by Peter Vecsey

NEW YORK — I slouch corrected: In the wake of Boston guard Rajon Rondo’s 24-assist, triple double (10 points, 10 rebounds) against the Knicks on Friday, what better time to rectify something I’d written at least twice regarding then-Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni’s involvement with the Kentucky guard’s 2006 trade on draft night.

Contrary to my presentation, the Celtics had arranged for the Suns to choose Rondo at No. 21 and relieve owner Robert Sarver of Brian Grant’s $2.1 million contract in the process, as well as give Phoenix a first-round choice (Cleveland’s) the following year. I was under the mistaken impression D’Antoni had provoked the trade after Rondo’s selection, saying he’d never play for him because he can’t shoot.

In fact, the deal was set up during the draft, contingent on Rondo being there.

Column contributor Richie Kalikow reports, aside from collaborating on 24 baskets, Rondo also cleaned up Charlie Sheen’s hotel room, served as cut man in the Delonte West-Von Wafer fight and even caused Amare Stoudemire to shrug his shoulders and remark in his best Yiddish accent, “You want I should do everything out there?”

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Executive privilege? The Lakers’ early season schedule is softer than Jim Gray’s questions to LeBron James; 20 of their first 28 opponents are against non-playoff teams. Overall, they have the fewest back-to-back games (15) while at least one team has as many as 23. Phil Jackson feels his team won’t be tested until early March, when it takes the SATs. . . .

More body sweat, less hair gel: It is positively painful sitting at the game while watching Danilo Gallinari lose custody of his game. Two field goals in nine attempts in the Knicks’ five-point loss to the Blazers on Saturday, that’s it.

Ain’t no more to it. No rebounds. No assists. No steals. No business trying to guard brainiac Brandon Roy (29 points). Just 15 minutes of aiming shots instead of firing away instinctively and drifting on jumpers off the dribble. He’s not squaring up, either.

Kevin Loughery once told me a shooting slump is nothing more than losing your confidence. That’s the Reader’s Digest version of Gallinari.

Best way to regain his confidence is to start the next game in with an attitude — mix it up on the boards, knock down an opponent, hit the deck for a loose ball, get lathered up, bloody your knees. Once sweaty and uncivilized, his shot (and mechanics) instinctively will take care of itself.

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Who says Tracy McGrady has lost it? Despite no longer being a poisonous offensive threat, he still demands a triple team from the Pistons’ training staff. . . .

John Wall aborted 13 of 19 shots in the Washington Wastelands’ Oct. 28 loss to the Magic. Since 1966, only three other No. 1 choices have missed more than 13 in their debut: Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), 12-for-27 in 1969; Mark Aguirre, 7-for-21 in 1981; and Patrick Ewing, 8-for-21 in ’85. Then again, all of them had overcome the sophomore jinx in college. . . .

This is what’s known as a flawless segue:

In LeBron’s Nike commercial he asks, “What should I do?”

How about, “Just shut up!”

Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.