HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You hope Rajon Rondo put the rumors to rest with his stunning triple-double Sunday afternoon in Boston.
You hope anyone contemplating trading away the Celtics’ most dynamic player got a gigantic reminder of the unique set of skills the crafty point guard can unleash on an opponent. It was Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks’ turn to caught up in the Rondo-Zone on this day.
Rondo’s historic triple-double (18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists and his fourth of this condensed and abbreviated season) powered the Celtics to the overtime win and once again shined a light on the relentlessness nature of his game, which pales in aesthetics to some of his All-Star counterparts at the position around the league (Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Deron Williams make it look easier, particularly on the offensive end). But results are what matter, and Rondo is the only one of the group with a championship ring or even a trip to The Finals on his resume.
When you heard Celtics coach Doc Rivers dismiss the trade rumors Friday night, the cynic in you had the same reaction any NBA fan would with the March 15 trade deadline just around the corner. “Of course, you are not trying to trade him, unless …”
Unless what? In a league where fit is everything, Rondo is a perfect fit in Boston. Only a fool would miss that and contemplate trading him right now, when it is clear that whatever last gap effort the Big 3+1 makes in the playoffs (provided they stay healthy and make the postseason) begins and ends with whatever work Rondo can do.
He capable of doing things that few others, at any position, have been able to do in the history of the league. His performance Sunday marked just the third time in NBA history that a player has recorded at least 20 assists and 17 rebounds in a game. Magic Johnson did it in 1983, with 17 rebounds and 21 assists against the Hawks, and Wilt Chamberlain had 25 rebounds and 21 assists against Detroit in 1968.
Only Johnson, Oscar Robertson and Jason Kidd have ever recorded game with 15 or more points, 15 or more rebounds and 15 or more assists.
That’s pretty good company, fantastic company actually, for a player whose name has gone through two cycles of the trade rumor mill in the past four months.