Jeremy Lin, meet Rajon Rondo – a man obviously tired of hearing best point guard in the NBA conversations focused around Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams. A man obviously not thrilled about having the ”Linsanity” circus brought into his house. A man who is tired of the trade rumors, and ultimately a man who turns it up to another level when he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder. Yesterday, in my opinion, was the best day of NBA basketball yet this season, with both Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo dropping classic “chip on the shoulder” performances. But it was Rondo’s day that truly shined.
Rondo’s performance – 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 20 assists – was one of the best regular season performances in the history of the NBA. The triple-double aside, only one on other player in NBA history has ever had a 15 point, 15 rebound, 15 assist game. Not Magic. Not Jordan. Not Lebron. (Jason Kidd was the other) And for the Celtics, they took a 2-1 season series lead against the Knicks, making this a meaningful game that could have playoff implications.
Rondo’s stat line aside, he also played stellar defense on Jeremy Lin – he only managed 14 points and 5 assists for the game. Lost in the wake of Rondo’s performance was Paul Pierce’s game, which included a 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime and 34 points. You know something special went down when 34 points is a secondary story line.
As for the Celtics, they’ve suddenly begun to play great. Kevin Garnett getting more time at center is the primary difference that I’ve seen, and while it was a move made out of necessity I say ride the wave as long as you can. This was a huge win for the Celtics, but I’m not going to get overly excited about it. This game to me was about Rondo saying “shut the *uck up” to his doubters – it was not about the Celtics making a statement that they are still a contender. The bitter lining of this game was that in my eyes, this will go down as the Celtic’s signature win this season. I still give them no real shot at a title.
Danny Ainge, you said it best. Rondo’s not going anywhere.