Rajon Rondo became the sixth NBA player to record at least 8 postseason triple doubles, but his performances have a lot more to do with them than simply stat feeders, leading the Celtics to a 92-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern conference Semi Final series.
We can talk about how Doc Rivers stayed on for another year and is pulling off some coaching magic by squeezing out another good season out of his again big three, with Rondo on the line between brilliant savior and the best point guard in the league to the distraction off the court and an offensive problem on it when people figure out how to keep him out of the paint.
Kevin Garnett forgetting that he’s 16 years in the NBA, and is 35, and is not a Center. Garnett had his best regular season since his first Boston season. With leadership, with his defense; things that don’t disappear with age when the body is healthy enough. He never loved playing Center, but Gartnett is good enough to be one of the best in the league in that position.
You can talk about guys like Avery Bradley, suddenly becoming an unexpected starter in his second NBA season, filling in for the injured Ray Allen. Allen is back now, coming off the bench, scoring 12 points against the Sixers. He was just as good in the series against the Atlanta Hawks.
But it’s Rondo, above them all. With his arrogance as well, which makes him unlikable to some, but is also fueled by that confidence and self belief. He struggled with his scoring and shooting, finishing with 6-15 from the field. So he took on assists and passing. Rondo is better when he feeds others than when he thinks about scoring first. With all of his talents, he’s no Rose, Chris Paul or Westbrook. He’s defense and assists first and foremost.
Rondo finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists, adding 4 steals but also 7 turnovers. No one said the Sixers made it easy for Boston. The Sixers had a double digit lead before Rondo went off. Uncontrollable, unstoppable in the closing moments. Too fast to handle, the Sixers just couldn’t contain as he ran around the floor like the road runner, spreading the wealth. His motion and energy was too much, even for the Philly defense.
Boston are more than just Rondo, but they wouldn’t be where they are without him. More of a leader than ever, a better player than ever. He is the difference between the Celtics being an aging team fighting for scraps and a postseason spot than the Celtics suddenly looking like a team with an outsiders shot at winning the NBA title, or at least the East, now that the Bulls are gone.