Rajon Rondo receives big cheers in return to Boston (Video)

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  • Rajon Rondo
    Rajon Rondo
    American basketball player

The trade of Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics to the Dallas Mavericks several weeks ago marked the end of an era. Rondo had played for the Celtics since he was drafted in June 2006, playing a key role on the 2008 championship team and making four All-Star teams during the franchise's longest sustained run of success since their '80s dynasty. Even if it was time for Rondo and the Celtics to part ways, the break still registered as a meaningful moment in the city's sports history.

Rondo and the Mavericks visited the Celtics at TD Garden on Friday, which allowed everyone in Boston a chance to reflect on his tenure with the club. It started on a very positive note during introductions when the crowd gave him a very positive ovation:

That warm welcome turned out to be a precursor to a more formal tribute to Rondo between the first and second quarters. That's when tfhe TD Garden video board played this highlight tape of his most memorable moments in green:

Oddly enough, Boston's appreciation of Rondo occurred as he was taking it to the Celtics with an uncharacteristic scoring output, including this three-pointer right before the first-quarter horn:

The pass-first point guard — averaging just 9.3 ppg on 41.2 percent shooting from the field — opened by making his first seven shots for 18 points (including the Mavs' first 10). He finished with a season-high 29 points in the Mavericks' 119-101 victory.

Rondo has a tendency to play his best when the most attention is on him, and he also often surprises observers by doing things they've never seen from him before. In that way, his play Friday was both unexpected and classic Rondo.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!