Rondo's reward: duel with LeBron
There is only one NBA conference semifinal series that was contested: Celtics vs. Cavaliers. There are at least five future Hall of Famers playing in the series:
And the best player in this hotly contested 2-2 series (which resumes Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland) has been
In four games against the Cavs, the 6-foot-1 Boston guard is averaging 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 13 assists in 42 minutes.
Rondo made NBA history in Game 4 at the New Garden in Boston when he scored 29 points in addition to 18 rebounds and 13 assists in a 97-87 series-squaring Celtics victory over the heavily favored Cavaliers. In NBA playoff lore, the only triple-doubles that surpassed Rondo's were achieved by
"It's major,'' said Cleveland guard
He's tried 6-6
"I would love to [guard Rondo],'' James said when asked about taking on the Celtics' pocket rocket. "It's something that we maybe should explore because Rondo is definitely dominating the series at the point guard position. For me, I don't have a problem taking Rondo or guarding Rondo throughout the course of the game. If the coaching staff or the guys want me to do it, I will.''
It's pretty amazing that four games into the series, we're talking about the Cavs using LeBron to guard Rondo. I mean, what ever happened to Boston's Big Three?
"It used to be the Big Three and Rajon Rondo,''
Magic is one of the few guards capable of an 18-rebound game. But he was 6-9. Rondo is eight inches shorter than Magic. And he's only 24 years old with four years in the league.
"He's got a great nose for the basketball,'' said Brown. "All of his rebounds aren't necessarily ones that come right off the rim. If they're long and they hit that ground and you stand and watch, he's coming up with them because he's extremely quick to the ball.
"Rondo has Hall of Fame skills,'' said Celtics broadcaster
This isn't Rondo's first go-round in the playoffs. He won a championship as starting point guard of the Celtics in 2008. But he was immature and unfinished in those days. The Celtics thought about benching him after a particularly awful performance (three points, 1-for-7 shooting, 15 minutes) in Game 5 of the Finals against the Lakers. Last year Rondo bloomed as a playoff star, averaging 19.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 11.6 assists in an epic, first-round, seven-game series against the Bulls.
Incredible as it sounds, Rondo had to fight