4/23/2011 12:51:00 PM
Rondo's performance against the Knicks last night has just about everyone around the NBA on notice. He had his sixth triple double of his career -- scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out a Celtic playoff record 20 assists.
Now the Celtics, who looked like fresh playoff bait to most media members as little as two days ago, have catapulted themselves to the top of the hype machine.
ESPNBoston's Jackie MacMullan wrote on Rondo's "reappearance act", saying now that he's back the NBA should beware.
"In 40 minutes of play Friday night, Rondo established a rhythm predicated on sharing the ball and keeping it moving," wrote MacMullan. "He engaged Paul Pierce (a game-high 38 points) and Ray Allen (32 points) early and often. He led his team on a crushing 22-5 run to open the game, reducing an initially raucous Madison Square Garden crowd to a truly disheartened collection of malcontents who, by the end, could muster only barely audible groans."
"It's a beautiful thing watching a team like this share the ball,'' she quoted Jeff Green. "When you have a point guard as talented as Rondo, he makes it look easy.''
MacMullan, Boston's own, wasn't the only one singing Rondo's praises after last night. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski also wrote about the show the point guard put on in Madison Square Garden and what that could mean for Boston's Eastern Conference rivals.
"Rondo danced and jiggled and mocked, controlling the ball, the flow, like Game 3 was on a yo-yo," wrote Wojnarowski. "He darted and probed and flicked passes, humiliating the Knicks and ultimately bouncing the ball out the door, through the Lincoln Tunnel and onto Interstate 95, south toward Miami."
Wojnarowski pointed out that while the Miami Heat may have answers at the positions Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett play they certainly have none for Rondo.
"Rajon Rondo comes and dares to take everything away – your crowd, your team, your spirit," wrote Wojo. "Yes, the Heat had to be watching on Friday night and asking themselves: What do we do with that Rondo?"
Rondo and the Celtics certainly made quite a statement last night. Heading into the hostile and hungry enviroment of Madison Square Garden and squashing the hopes of a long suffering and always raucous New York fanbase. It was a display of toughnesss that nearly every pundit thought the Celtics were without after stumbling since they traded away their scowling center Kendrick Perkins back in February.
It's said over and over but as Rondo goes, so do the Celtics. If he keeps going like he did last night they'll keep going into June.
4/23/2011 12:51:00 PM