Last night’s game between Miami and Boston will be remembered as one of the greatest performances that Rajon Rondo has ever had. It resulted in a loss, yet he left everything he had out on that court. Last night wasn’t the beginning though, last night was the culmination of the work Rondo has put in on evolving his game. It isn’t nearly done, but he cemented his place as one of the NBA’s Superstars. Prior to this year’s playoffs, we haven’t really known how Rondo’s peers have seen him. What we’ve learned is they respect him as one of the “elite” players in the league.”Rondo was absolutely amazing,the performance he put on tonight will go down in the record books” said Heat Forward LeBron James. His opponents have gone out their way to shower Rondo with praise, often coming up short with the “right” words to describe what it is that makes him so unique. Whether the Boston Celtics rebound to win this Eastern Conference Finals matchup against Miami or not, Rondo has shown the world that he is capable of being the Cornerstone of a Franchise.
The book on Rondo thus far in his career is that he’s an insanely gifted passer with a limited scoring touch outside of layups. It’s evident that he’s put in work on the offensive side of the ball, his growth from the regular season to the playoffs this year was incredible. During the regular season Rondo averaged 12 pts, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds on 44% shooting from the floor. In the month of March and April, Rondo averaged 13 assists and 14 assists respectively in both months. Over the course of the season Rondo has adjusted his game to what the team needed out of him. For example, in the December he averaged 18.8 points a game. Keep in mind that Rondo barely leaves the court, due to the age of the “Big 3” in Boston it is up to Rondo to control the tempo of the game. Anytime he’s off the floor their offense struggles significantly, every other player is interchangeable as long as Rondo is on the floor controlling the tempo. In the regular season Rondo played 37 minutes a game, that means he does a great job avoiding foul trouble as he only gets whistled for 2 fouls a game. It’s possible to make an argument that the “Big 3” moniker had no business being given to anybody in Boston without Rondo’s name being included.
Now, let’s discuss what Rajon Rondo has done for the Celtics in this Postseason. In the First Round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics won 4-2. Rondo averaged 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 11.8 assists, and 3.4 steals. He shot 46% from the floor and 50% from deep. In game Three Rondo recorded a triple-double; 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists. Let’s not forget the 4 steals either on the way to a 90-84 Celtics victory. In the Second Round, the Celtics fought the 76ers in a 7 game series. Rondo averaged 14 points, 12.7 assists, and 7.4 rebounds per game versus Philly. Rondo is also the reason the Celtics even made it to the Conference Finals to play Miami. In Game 7, Paul Pierce had fouled out while the game was still in the balance. The Celtics were ahead at the time, but the door was far from closed for the 76ers. Rondo took it upon himself to slam the door shut on them. In that pivotal Game 7 he recorded a triple-double; he scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, had 3 steals, and dished out 10 assists!
There have only been two games played in the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami has won both as the series heads back up to Boston. Rondo struggled in Game 1, connecting on just 8 of his 20 shot attempts. His complete line for that game was 16 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 steal. Outside of Kevin Garnett, the entire Celtics team struggled. Fast forward to last night’s Game 2, the Celtics lost a close game to Miami in Overtime after going up early by as many as 15 points. Rondo bounced back from a pedestrian Game 1 and had an absolute gem of a game last night. He played 53 minutes last night; scoring 44 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, accumulated 10 assists, and recorded 3 steals!! Rondo shot 16 of 24 from the floor and 2 of 2 from beyond the arch; that’s 66% from the floor and PERFECT from deep while knocking down 8 of his 12 Free Throw Attempts!! The game he had last night will go down in Celtics History as one of the best Postseason performances ever. Rondo dragged his team along last night, Miami regained the lead down the stretch but Rondo had an answer every time. In the extra period, Rondo continued to embrace the moment and continued his offensive onslaught only for his team to come up short. After two games in the Eastern Conference Finals; Rondo is averaging 30 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals. He’s shooting 54% from the floor, 66% from three, and 83 % from the charity stripe.
It isn’t fair to marvel at last night’s game without taking note of Rondo’s entire body of work in this year’s Playoffs. We are watching a player “evolve” right before our eyes, last night was just a glimpse of the type of pure talent that is Rajon Rondo. As he continues to evolve, that argument for the best point guard in the league will not take nearly as long to complete. The days of Rondo being on the Trading Block will surely be forgotten; Rondo showed the world what he’s made of, imagine what he could do with a team built around HIS strengths! As long as he’s there, the Celtics are in good and very capable hands!!
What do you think about Rondo’s performance last night? Does it change where you rank him in terms of the best point guards in the league?? Please share your thoughts below!!