Rajon Rondo had what was undoubtedly his best game of the season, leading the Boston Celtics, who have been aching for Rondo to return with this kind of offense, to a 95-91 win over the Chicago Bulls, with Rondo completing his second triple double of the season – 32 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists, as the C’s improved to a 15-12 record.
But, and that’s a huge but, before those who say that this is proof that Boston are still title contenders when healthy and all that – Derrick Rose didn’t play. That guy, the MVP, who pretty much changes your entire defensive plan. Rondo didn’t have to use too much energy with C.J. Watson, who had a very good night with 22 points, but it wasn’t Rose, especially not in the closing minutes.
Still, the Bulls took the Celtics to the limit, as Paul Pierce finished with only 9 points. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett finished in double figures, but this was a Rondo show. To those who claim he is the best point guard in the league, it was one of those nights that breaths truth into those rumors, untrue as they maybe.
It always calls from comparisons, and Rondo does have a few things better suited for point guard than Rose. He’s a better defender, and probably a better passer as well. But Rose’s ability to dominate on offense, his clutch and his leadership skills are overwhelmingly better than Rondo’s, it shouldn’t even be a discussion.
But for the Celtics, the turn of generations is finally complete. With Rondo healthy, there’s once again no doubt who leads this offense, and who will also take most of the shots. Paul Pierce can dominate less and less, Garnett seems unhappy with playing center and Ray Allen continues to show age chipping away at his shooting skills. Rondo is the only real All-Star player on this team, and how far the Celtics will go this season depends entirely on his ability to become a consistent scoring threat.
For the Bulls, it’s more waiting for Derrick Rose. Luol Deng is an All-Star, but the team looks a bit lost at times without their number one. If his back problems turn out to be a short term affliction, then things will be back to normal pretty soon, and Rondo will be once again the second best point guard in the Eastern Conference.