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Watch Rajon Rondo score 29, hit 5 threes in emotional return to Boston

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Rondo was brilliant facing the Celtics for the first time since his trade to Dallas.

How fitting. The Celtics lost, but for Boston fans watching a rejuvenated Rajon Rondo Friday night almost single-handedly beat their team, it had to be one of the most satisfying losses in a long time.

Nobody ever thought Rondo would be the last one standing. He wasn't even part of the Big 3, slowly earning his way into the circle of trust by big playoff performances and even bigger flashes of brilliance. He was the team's quiet force -- rarely scoring but leaving his fingerprints all over each Paul Pierce pull-up jumper, Ray Allen 3-pointer and Kevin Garnett block.

In the end, Rondo was the only one left, and finally he departed in the trade to Dallas. They honored him with a standing ovation and a tribute video, and in turn, he reminded them of all the great times in Celtics history they enjoyed together. Each layup flashed back to a similar one during some key fourth quarter run, each jump shot brought memories to crucial playoff games.

Fittingly, though, Rondo also buried five 3-pointers. He'd never done before, not in all of his eight seasons in Boston. Maybe it was his way of showing Boston that he was in a new place, a place that would never be quite like his Celtics day, a place he needed to be to satisfy his undying desire to make his team the best. Dallas isn't Boston, nor is it trying to be for Rondo. He won't forget his home, but he's also in a new one now.