Rondo’s Ridiculous Roll

Posted by Sekou Smith

SALT LAKE CITY – Just because we packed up all our goods from the hideout and headed to see the Western Conference semifinals doesn’t mean we’re ignoring what’s going on in the East.

And how could anyone miss what Rajon Rondo did to the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday afternoon in Boston?

Rondo’s 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists was a singularly amazing performance in itself (in case you haven’t heard, Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain are the only other players that have put up numbers like that in a playoff game), but it brought up and interesting topic for a small group of us that huddled up for a later dinner after the game.

And no, we didn’t dive back into the who’s-the-best-point-guard-in-the-league discussion, because we could pick a different one for each round of these playoffs and still be right.

Instead, we were trying to come up with a logical explanation for 20 teams passing on him in the 2006 draft. Of course, we could not come up with anything.

I remember watching Rondo go through a workout in Atlanta and everyone raving about his athleticism, defensive skills and just about everything about him, save for the often-used and totally ridiculous claim that “well, he can’t make a shot.”

Rondo still isn’t a great shooter and perhaps he never will be, but he does everything else well on both ends of the floor.

He’s easily the best defensive point guard in the league. And on a team that feeds off of its prowess and effort on the defensive end, Rondo’s contributions are crucial, as my main man and NBA.com colleague John Schuhmann pointed out:

For the most part, the Celtics’ break was fueled by their defense. Their intensity on that end returned after a one-game hiatus, again keeping James out of the paint. And with the game on the line early in the fourth quarter, that vaunted Celtics defense was the deciding factor.

They held the Cavs scoreless on the first nine possessions of the fourth, turning a two-point lead into a 12-point cushion. They forced four Cleveland turnovers in that stretch, three long jumpers, and a pair of rushed drives.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave Rondo extra credit for keeping the Cavs uncomfortable offensively.

“The stat that doesn’t show … was his ball pressure,” Rivers said. “I thought that was the biggest difference, because they didn’t get into their stuff as quickly as they did in Game 3.

“To me, that might have been the hardest thing he had to do tonight. And we were concerned about that robbing him of his energy. And then to go out and do the rebounding and the passing and the scoring, it was just an amazing effort.”

Amazing indeed!

I just wonder if anyone will ever say similar things about Adam Morrison, Shelden Williams, Patrick O’Bryant, Mouhamed Sene, Cedric Simmons, Shawne Williams, Oleksiy Pecherov, Quincy Douby or Renaldo Balkman — who were all drafted ahead of Rondo?

I’m going to take a stab here and guess no.

And I guarantee you LeBron James won’t be concerned with trying to guard any of those guys anytime soon.

***

45 Comments

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  3. Shel says:

    Look, let me tell everyone something. The Boston Celtics are going to win it all. Mark my words. They are old school’s finest. When I see them playing, I want to break out my boom box and harken back to the heydays of hip hop. They are what I all CLASSIC. There is no stopping them. Sometimes the record may scratch (bad losses, bad passes, shooting snafus), but the song remains the same (they are a strong team with players that cannot be duplicated). Let the record play…

  4. Rommel says:

    HOW COME LEBRON JAMES HAS NOT GUARANTEE A GAME SIX OR SEVEN VICTORY?? ALL THE GREAT PLAYERS HAS DONE IT!!!!! KING JAMES???????

  5. Anna says:

    Sekou Smith—— YOU ARE WRONG!!!! ;-<

  6. Ray says:

    lolzzzz @ Charles Barkley before the series started when he stated Cavs will win in 4 games……Not his fault though…..game 2 and game 5 were the worse playoff showings for the Cavs in the Lebron era and nobody expected he would play like the way he did in tuesday’s game…..love the fact that Ray Ray is finding that rhythm again….

  7. Roe says:

    Let me just start off saying that I AM a Celtics fan. But that doesn’t have to do anything with the facts that celtics will win against the Cavs. The fact is that the Cavs depend on LeBron to much and he can’t lead the whole team to the finals. The need a second man (even though mo williamshas been stepping up, he’s not it). Even with the excuse that LeBron’s elbow is messed up, the Celtics have proven that they can work together as a team and RELY on each other. Plain and simple CELTICS will win. As for Orlando, i know it will be a close game, but honestly i don’t think they can hold Rondo from the basket. Even if they have Dwight howard. i mean come on shaq 7.9ft couldn’t keep him from the basket and he’s bigger too. Now the thing that i’m worried about is Paul Pierce and Vincent Carter. Pierce came back from game 5 , but how long will that keep up and Carter… well i just hope they can play tight defensive on him. To summarize it all up Celtics will win against Cavs and when they face Orlando, its going to be a hell of a game.

  8. REC says:

    You people who are saying D12 can’t guard Rondo are rembering Howard is the defensive player of the year….AGAIN!? And it ain’t like Van Gundy is dumb enough to let D12 to lock on one on one with Rondo. Don’t get me wrong Rondo is terrifyingly good, I’m brave enough to say he’s probably the best point guard at the moment (untill CP3 gets back to his best), but Rondo is surrounded by 3 All Star players (KG, The truth, Ray Ray). Barnes, Neslson and Pietrus are all great defenders, and Van Gundy will find a way to deal with Rondo. To be honest I don’t know why we are even talking about this, It’s not like the Cav’s and C’s series is over yet! But back to what you said Sekou, shame on all the teams who missed out on Rondo. Jennings for Rajon Rondo v2?

  9. The D Train says:

    If Lebron cant do it, the Cavs will not win! Must suck to have the fate of your team resting on one pair of shoulders.

  10. JB1 says:

    Lets not forget about Rondo dunking on Howard not once, but twice last year.. Theres not a point guard in the league that can check rondo.. Game on snitches

  11. JB1 says:

    Rondo is the man plain and simple.. The Cavs are a joke, they will never have a championship team. Orlando is mediocre at best..

  12. KD says:

    just wait for the finals.. the team that will win is the team with the most heart and who is willing to give it all… they are all great, that’s why they are in the playoffs it’s no fluke. the key to this is maximizing on their strengths and who is willing to take the championship with all means nessesary

  13. Homer says:

    I still believe that the Celtics will win Championship # 18, Go Celtics!!!

  14. NBA Finals says:

    I don’t understand all this new Rondo butt-kissing: first from the commentators at ABC, now at the blog sphere too? The only thing working for Rondo personally is his speed, much as when Tony Parker used to blaze through everyone for lay-ups and floaters. One, Anthony Parker is too slow to defend against him due to all those illegal moving screen Kevin Garnet gives him; two, Shaq is too old and soft to pulverize him whenever he drives in. Three, he can easily get 10 assists a night with so many scoring options.

    As for the question of Sekou Smith: “we were trying to come up with a logical explanation for 20 teams passing on him in the 2006 draft. Of course, we could not come up with anything.” That’s a loaded question and one of those “in hind-sight” things. Honestly, which point guard can’t play well with 3 superstars where everyone of them can create his own shot and scores just about from anywhere? It’s called “there are worried about them, so I have room and space to do other things.” The best defensive players are on Pierce, Garnet, and Ray Allen….not on Rondo. Stop kissing his arsh please.

  15. LA BOY says:

    Who ????? rondo!!!!!! ????? wait till kobe play with him!!!!!

    • Steve says:

      Josh Sewell from Trinity? Rondo isn’t the best pg in the league. Would you take Rondo over Rose?

  16. illstacks says:

    lakers and cavs are not winning a damn thing. its the magic year just watch. too many weapons and great d

  17. Shannon says:

    I Love the NBA… and I am an Aussie. My team is the C’s, and I have had my heart sink a lot this season seeing them blow 4th quarters and just generally drop the ball on games they should have won. Their biggest problem has been injuries, and this has affected their chemistry all year. Rondo has impressed me beyond measure, I didn’t rate him at the start of the season… but he has proven himself to be a critical part of the starting line-up. All this said, Boston notched up 52-30 in the regular season… which was only 4 games less than the Lakers. I don’t think Lakers fans should be so sure of a ring this year… Cleveland are hot, and Phoenix have consistanly been the #1 scoring team ALL YEAR. I would love to see the mighty Celtics go all the way, but if I was a betting man, I would probably put my money on the Cavs to go home with the Gold. My prediction… Cavs #1, Lakers #2. I don’t care who you follow, you gotta love the greatness of King James. God bless the NBA for making life sweet!

    • tata says:

      I could never like a poor sport like LBJ. See if he shakes hands with the Celtics or if he runs off like a baby like he did last year against Orlando. Anybody that dances during a game is a pompous ass. Imagine MJ, Magic, Bird OR Kobe doing little dance numbers ….you can’t because they are class acts.

  18. williamps says:

    well obviously i think C’s will win if u look at stats, i mean, even Doc Rivers admitted that they cant win on the cavs individually and only as a team that they have a shot at this series. seriously, even though LBJ”s saying that he’s not bothered by his injury, its clearly evident that he is. he scores low (22pts is low for a LeBron) wen going through games that are held the day next to tomorrow from the previous game. evidence is Game 3.. havng 4 days rest clearly made his elbos feel better but i think its strained again. hopefully the cavs win at 6.

    • tata says:

      There was no injury. LeBum CRAVES attention more than anyone alive. If he was really hurt, explain why he was still playing in the 4th qtr of game 3 when the Cavs were up by over 20 points. I would’ve had my star player out even if he wasn’t injured. Mike Brown must be the dumbest coach in the world if he can’t win with 4 All-Stars in his starting lineup. Shaq s the only guy that showed up in game 5.

  19. HeavyG says:

    Well, whoever wins this series (my heart’s with the Celtics, but realistically home court advantage is gonna weigh heavily for the Cavs), they’re gonna have a helluva hard time overcoming the Magic (the only perfect team, and not just in win record, so far). I see Orlando going all the way this year, they have the depth and the diversity, and are playing as a complete unit, my $$ is on them. Lebron who?? Kobe who ?? Howard is far more efficient than both this year, not least because he allows his awesome supporting cast to help him out at all times, and they do!

    • tata says:

      Orlando is undefeated against a couple of lame east teams. Atlanta has shown the ultimate in weakness…they flat out quit!! Orlando will be in for a rude awakening when they have to play ANY team of championship caliber. Teams like Cleveland and Orlando spend too much time on their dance moves instead of basketball. Maybe LeBron and Dwight can be on “Dancing With The Stars”. Can anybody in their right mind imagine MJ, Magic or Bird doing a little dance number before, during or after a game?? I hope these clowns NEVER win so the integrity of the game can stay intact.

  20. Josh Sewell says:

    Rondo is the best PG since Magic. He makes the NBA fun to watch. I hope he keeps playing like he has been for the past couple games.

    • REC says:

      There’s no way you can compare Rondo to Magic. Magic was 6’9, 255 pounds. He played anywhere and everywhere on the roster when he was asked. He rebounded, he posted, he scored and he dished. Rondo is great no doubt about it, but you have to see him play with a weaker team before you start saying he is the best since Magic Johnson. Derrick Rose plays in a weak Chicago team, CP3 also and he still takes charge. Other exapmles are Deron Williams with the Jazz and Brandon Jennings with his suprising Bucks squad. When and if Rondo is not surronded by 3 All Star players (make it 4 with Rasheed a former All Star) and is playing in the form he is in now, THAN you you can say he is the best since the Johnson era. Peace

  21. bokandesuyo says:

    It’s Cavs at Game 7 vs. Celtics, vs. Orlando and vs. Lakers.

  22. rockmyworld says:

    well, I heard someone said Rondo is overrated? come on. he has done amazing things like that for 4 freaking match staright in round 2, and all articles in nba only noted that he’s the current MVP in round 2. which is very true, Lebron is not even close eventhough he’s the regular season MVP. Well, except Cavs fans, I guess everyone wants C’s to win this series.

  23. Day Day says:

    I would love to see Jameer Nelson check Rondo. Mo Williams can’t even do it and y’all think that Jameer Nelson can do it. All Rondo gonna do is go right at D12 and get him in foul trouble. I don’t think Orlando is going to win the Conference Finals against Cleveland or Boston. But I do know that the Lakers are going to knock the Suns out the Conference Finals. And the Lakers are not gonna win the championship against LeBron and the Cavs.

  24. Ray says:

    Boston had a great away record in the regular season. They have shown that in the playoffs too… One win @ Miami and one again @ Cleveland. the only thing thats killing me is celtics @ home and Paul Pierce’s dismal showing at the playoffs. I mean KG’s stepped up a notch and Ray Ray is still the leading scorer of the C’s….Rondo is great as usual……They jus need Paul to step up…..A win tomm and a win @ cleveland, its eastern final for the C’s to take….remember the C’s were the ones to take orlando to 7 games last year at the eastern semi’s, without KG i say……P.S: the C’s should keep Ray Allen….he’s the only consistent player in Boston along with Rajon Rondo who’s shooting at 50 % prior to game 4 against cleveland….

  25. J. Cartier says:

    Funny , I recall so many sports writers writing Rondo off at the beginning of the season , and can recall an article or two which stated Boston needed a legitimate point guard if they were to challenge for the title , now that Rondo has performed well , the writers are chewing his jock.
    Boston coasted through the season and perhaps have energy left in their tank while Cleveland won the most games and appear to be burned out , or close to it. This is going to be an interesting 7 games. My money on Boston vs L.A. for the NBA Championship.

  26. neil says:

    this was just a good nite for RR, not like hes doing this every single game. Dragic did it to spurs. then Nash even with 1 eyed closed. some1 would have their day sometimes. overrated.

  27. clyde says:

    @bogdan it will never be done!!!boston vs orlando!!!boring game cleveland will bee 2010 champions

  28. Carlo says:

    YES MAN! I Hope Celtics WIN! cause then itll be an easier game for ORLAAANNDOOO to win.
    MAGIC, TAKING THIS ALLLL THE WAYY! after they sweep the hawks tonight, theyll sweep whoever they face next. ;)
    4-0 against charlotte, 4-0 against hawks, then 4-0 celtics/cavs…..W/EVA

  29. DB says:

    Boston Sucks… They have no chance of winning a 7-GAME series with the Cavs, sorry, but it will never happen… Boston Sucks.

  30. Cali says:

    who cares about rondo, its all about THE LAKERS BAY BAY

    • tata says:

      The world is upside down when a LAKERS fan like myself was rooting for the Spurs and Celtics in the playoffs.

  31. jon says:

    keep up the good work sekou

  32. jon says:

    SEKOU!!!!!!…..u gonna get in this and take it like a man or are you already contemplating retirement???? either way im here for ya buddy……hey maybe ill get your job when u leave…….wait forget that im with my man and anyone who wants to step on him is outta there mind…….im your number 1 supporter

  33. jon says:

    u guys are right…….i mean coming from the mouth of doc river’s “he was amazing”….that means a lot coming from the top basketball coach in the state of massachusettes….he’s such an incredible basketball mind…….how did he know to put garnett, pierce, and allen in the starting lineup…..how did he figure that putting three guys who are perennial all-stars on the court at the same time…..no one else in this country would have thought of doing that……..truly “amazing”.

  34. Bogdan says:

    I can’t wait to see Rondo messing with D Howard in the Conference Finals. It won’t be like last year, Rondo is a different player this year. Orlando is used with winning so much, that they won’t see this coming, just like with the Lakers last year. This will be the best finals since 2008. Go Celtics. They beat the Cavs with Pierce shooting worse than ever, and Ray Allen shooting 1-10 from the 3 point. Seriously? Wait to see Tuesday when Allen will shoot 60% and Pierce 55-60%. I can’t wait. BOS 110 – CLE 89(91). I’m out :)

    • Cappa says:

      There is no way Orlando will allow RR come close to the basket with these kinds of lay ups. D12, Lewis, Barnes will stop him there, if and only if, they can pass through Cavs, the only way Celtics might have a chance is with Allen and Pierce -at the same time- playing great, even then they will have a very slim chance. Its gonna be a LAL_ORL finals again and I favor for the LAL again.

      • ryan says:

        Your off your rocker, Vince Carter will never play in a finals game in his career. Rondo will take Nelson where and whenever he wants, Pierce will be unguardable, KG will pop in the jumpers and Perks and Big Baby will frustrate Howard into foul trouble. Too many “I’s” on orlando and not enough team play.

  35. Tony in Indy says:

    How the Pacers passed on him with their glaring need at PG is still a mystery. Ssssssssmokin’ Shawne Williams? Seriously?