I want to talk about the Boston Celtics and particularly about the Celtics point guard: Rajon Rondo. In a team leaded by three hall of famers, and surrounded with the likes of 34-year-old Kevin Garnett, 33-year-old Paul Pierce, 35-year-old Ray Allen, and 39-year-old Shaquille O’Neal, Rajon Rondo has been nothing short of spectacular. Not only has he been able to fit in among such a talented group of players, but he has also worked his way into becoming one of the pillars of this championship worthy team.
At 25 years of age Rajon Rondo has already won one NBA Championship, he has been called twice to the NBA All-Star team, and has managed to become the starting point guard in an otherwise veteran team. He had had some trouble earlier in his career particularly when it came to keeping his temper. He was young and talented but needed to put aside his ego and really learn from the Celtics Big Three.
But perhaps the best was yet to come. This season, Rondo completed 17 assists, which tied with Oscar Robertson for the third-most assists in the Celtics season opener. In the third game of the season Rondo kept up his momentum to collect a career-high 24 assists along with a triple-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) against the New York Knicks, the same team –sans Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony that the Celtics would sweep in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs-.It tied him with Isiah Thomas as the only players in NBA history to have at least 24 assists in a triple-double.
Rondo’s 50 assists through the first three games of the season tied John Stockton’s NBA record for most assists in the first 3 games of the season. In the next game against the Detroit Pistons, he finished the game with 17 assists for a total of 67 assists, which is the most assists for a team’s first four games in NBA history. With a 15 assists effort the following day, Rondo again set a record for most assists through the first five games.
Now, before Sunday’s game against the Knicks, head coach Mike D’Antoni made a comment that probably made it to the Boston Celtics locker room. Let’s consider that by this point, the Celtics where up in the series by 3-0 and were about to finish the Knicks off in the Madison Square Garden. Let’s also consider that neither Amare Stoudemire nor, certainly not, Carmelo Anthony had managed to slow down Rajon Rondo. Still, the New York Knicks said before game for began that Rondo was good basically because he was playing next to Allen, Garnett and Pierce, and not because of his own skills.
That been said, Rondo was coming off a triple-double, including a franchise playoffs record 20 assists on game three. And he didn’t slow down on game four. Rondo scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 12 assists for a 101-89 triumph at Madison Square Garden. Knicks had Melo, but seem to miss Chauncey Billups a bit too much, and suffered because of it.
That was enough to give the Celtics a well-deserved weeklong rest before round two of the NBA Playoffs. As of press time the Celtics are the only team that has secured a pass into the second round.