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Rajon. Rondo. Returns.

May 7, 2009

I’ve gotten some slack over the months about over-Rondo-ing on this blog. I talk about him too much. I give him too many props. I hype him up too much. There is a reason I’ve been doing this all season long: Rondo is that good. For you fast-readers and skimmers out there, I’ll say it again: Rajon Rondo is THAT good.

Ill be watching this all day. All day.

I'll be watching this all day. All day.

What a combo last night.

What a combo last night.

The Celtics backcourt last night was the game changer: Rondo and Eddi3 Hous3 were on fire and controlled the entire tempo of the game. Oh yeah, and that Ray Allen was pretty good, too. The Magic never stood a chance with Alston playing anti-awesome (re: slapping Eddi3 Hous3 because he drains shots over you? Grow up.) and JJ cooling off after a hot first quarter (again, another coaching flaw for Stan Van Gundy: when a streaky sharp shooter like JJ gets going, you ride him while he’s hot; you don’t relegate him to the bench in favor of Mickael Pietrus). Last night marked the return of Playoff Rondo– who was on hiatus since Game 5 v. CHI:

  • Smarter decisions – Rondo was doing what he does best: penetrating, drawing defenders, and finding open guys in the post and on the wings. Did you see some of the passes he made last night in that first half? He was Magic Johnson and John Stockton in white/green flashing #9. Rondo knew when to push last night, and when to slow it down. Rondo created the offensive rhythm for the ENTIRE team and made them offensively efficient– hardly a wasted possession.
  • Good ball movement – Rondo read the defense on every possession and moved the ball DIFFERENTLY each time. One of the biggest differences in his play last night compared to Monday was his ability to keep the Magic defensive guessing: who’s getting the ball and where is the option… Rondo was like a DJ in a bumpin’ NYC night club: he served up different mixes every time that we didn’t want the night to end. House. Scal. Ray Ray. Perk. Everyone got touches last night. The team had 34 assist off of 41 field goals. Only 7 baskets when unassisted– that is an amazing statistic.
  • +25 – Speaking of statistics, Rondo had a game high +25 +/- rating, drawing a stark contrast to Hedo’s -26. This is what happens when you have a point guard that puts up triple double numbers and is a LOCK DOWN perimeter defender. We’ll take this chance to say CONGRATULATION to Rondo for earning 2nd Team All-Defense honors alongside teammate KG. By the way, Rondo’s triple double last night was his 3rd of the post-season which ties the Celtics franchise record of most triple doubles in a postseason held by… Larry Bird.
  • Emotional leadership – Throughout this season, we’ve seen the great moments of Rondo emerging as a floor general, but also seen his breakdowns in court leadership. Last night, however, we saw a familiar PG that gave the other 4 players in white/green the confidence to play well, and the faith that everything was going to be alright because they trusted the guy handling the ball. He had the intensity last night that I love: when Orlando was trying to crawl back, a scrawny but explosive 6-1 guard drop a dunk while the boys in blue can only watch. I’d call this the “Tiger Woods” moment: play hard and don’t let up. Ever.

Other important happenings from Game 2:

  • Doc’s lineups – Doc must have read my post yesterday, right? Great job, Doc, of playing the lineups that were playing well, and not defaulting to the “gotta play these guys because these are my starters.” Scal and House boosted their real estate ten-fold last night and made them viable options in important game time minutes.
  • Pierce’s rest – What better gift in this series that has the tough schedule of night-on/night-off than to give Pierce about half a game’s rest? The Magic should expect him to come out firing in Game 3. But SVG won’t prepare well for this because, well, he’s an idiot.
  • Perk – Perk outplayed Dwight Howard in every regard. Did you notice that Dwight Howard had 0 blocks last night? Despite his tactic of pushing guys in the back while in the air (tell me you notice that?), he couldn’t get body position in the paint to block shots. Zero blocks. Zero.
  • Last thought on Rondo – What a strange player. Looking at his numbers each night, the dude is a statistical oddity. There are nights when he puts up 6 points and 17 assists, while other games you’ll see 26 points and 8 assists. My buddy Sean pointed out last night that Rondo was stealing rebounds from teammates, which was true. But, here is the deal: I think you take the whole package. He was intense, he was energetic, and most importantly, he wanted and NEEDED the ball in his hands as much as possible last night. If we can see that kind of focus and efficiency that we saw in Game 2 at the cost of taking a few boards away from teammates, so be it. This is the PG we’ve seen through most of the Bulls series and the one we need to move past Orlando.

Endnote  •  Yesterday, my endnote was about how I wanted to see a Kobe/Lebron finals matchup. After watching the crap last night from the Staples center, I change me mind. I hope Artest and Battier just shut Kobe DOWN and shut Kobe UP in game 3. Hey Houston: control the freakin’ tempo and don’t let this turn into a track meet. Use your strength, use your size.

Right up in ya.

Come on Joey, just give them 1 round...

Right up in ya, Kobe.

Right up in ya, Kobe.

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