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The Boston Celtics: This is Rajon Rondo's team now

May 10, 2010, 9:57 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for rondo_layup.jpgThe Big Three. KG, PP and Ray Allen. The veteran All-Stars who got together to return Boston to glory. The men that hung a new banner in the Garden two years ago. Three men now part of Celtics lore.

This is not their team any more. This is Rajon Rondo’s team.

If they are going to beat the Cavaliers and crush the Finals dreams of David Stern and Nike executives, it will be because of Rondo, with help from the big three. One of the OG NBA bloggers — Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog —  hit the nail on the head.

After a while you just knew.  It wasn’t a matter of “if” he would take the reigns form the Big 3 so much as it was “when.”

Ray Allen has already accepted his role as a (very good) 2nd option and long distance assassin.  Kevin Garnett has predictably been slow to accept the reality of his once freakish body becoming mortal again.  Paul Pierce still walks with the swagger of an alpha dog, but hasn’t been able to stop the trend of “two steps forward, one step back.”  As a collective group they are still formidable and many times they still take turns playing the hero. But none of them would be blessed with the opportunity to extend their legacies right now if not for Rajon Rondo.

Rondo leads this team because it starts on defense for him. This is a long, lanky defender who gets steals, disrupts passing lanes and contests everything. He has thrown the Cavaliers offensive attack off balance for stretches of this series (the Cavaliers have done it to themselves for other stretches). Rondo was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for a reason.

On offense, he brings much needed speed for easy baskets in transition to the team (Boston got 16 shot attempts up in transition in Game 4, making 10 of them). He is the guy who can penetrate off the dribble and break down the other team, force their defense to lose its shape. He is the energy a veteran team needs.

It took a while. Rondo had to earn this. Last season in the playoffs the Big Three could not see Rondo as a team leader. He was not consistent, not ready Celtics coach Doc Rivers told Yahoo.

“To me, what Rondo has done is this: He’s done it with his play, and he’s done it with his actions. That allows people to buy in, because they have to buy in. You have to sell that to three guys like that. They have to believe in you all the time. That took a lot of work by Rondo. Last year was up and down – even in the playoffs it was up and down.

“This year it’s been constant, and I think that’s been the biggest swing. If you can convince Kevin Garnett to follow you, then you’ve done a hell of a job. And Kevin believes in him.”

He’s ready now. And he may be ready to lead the Celtics to the biggest upset of these playoffs.

  1. Raymonf Russell - May 10, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    I am happy for Rondo. The guy I am sorry for lebron James. If he is not careful his career might land right where the Charles Bartley/ Partick Ewing landed, great play with good statistics and no championship ring to prove it.

  2. Adam - May 10, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Raymonf Russell
    Don’t forget Karl Malone and John Stockton. You can’t bring up top caliber statistics and no championships without mentioning Malone.
    Barkley and Ewing tried jumping around at the end to get championships, but the Utah duo stuck it out with the jazz and retired before they became old bench scrubs.
    I was never a fan of those Utah teams with them and Hornacek, but I do feel sorry that they came close a couple of times only for Jordan to fill another one of his fingers with diamonds like he did to my Sonics during that stretch. But who are the Sonics? My kids will never have heard of ’em. Ever seen Sonicsgate? Check it out.

  3. JB - May 10, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Malone jumped ship and finished with the Lakers.

  4. Bridesmaid - May 10, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    I know this is about Rondo but the mention of Lebron got me thinking. Cleveland has had enough great regular season coaches/managers and it looks like it is time to retire another one.
    Marty Schottenheimer, Lenny Wilkens, Mike Hargrove and now Mike Brown can get you to the doorstep and Brown even opened the door but they just can’t seem to get past the lobby.
    How the Cavs can completely shut down the entire Boston team on Friday and come back and have the lead for no more than 5 minutes on Sunday lead me to believe that Mike Brown can’t make adjustments two games in a row.
    The game plan, have Lebron shoot early and often, if he makes the shots it will be a long game for the opponent, if he is off there seems to be no backup plan. Come back the next game and see if Lebron can get everyone else involved before he starts shooting. Is this because Boston adjusted so well or was it the game plan from the start?
    Don’t start Shaq and play the fast paced run and gun that was so successful when Shaq was hurt. All we keep hearing about is the aging Celtics, well run them around the floor early and often so the 3rd and 4th quarter are just a formality.

  5. tobedetermined - May 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Bridesmaid…I agree with you 100%!!! I mean they blew them out of the arena on Friday night. The problem definitely is Mike Brown.

  6. Cryme boss - May 10, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    Malone Please…got what he deserves nothing!!!

  7. Rita - May 10, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Malone and Stockton two of the best ever and I’m a Celtics fam from the 60s! Those two deserved rings if ever any two non-Celtics ever did!

  8. Heywood in Millbury MA - May 10, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Bridesmaid and tobedetermined…. just remember, the Heat said the exact same thing about playing fast and making them feel old. The only problem with that is that it doesn’t usually work. Sure, KG, Ray Allen, Pierce and some of those other guys are old. But Rondo, Perkins, Tony Allen and Glen Davis are young and love to run. The problem the Cavs have is that they are an A+ (Lebron) playing with a bunch of C-minuses. The Celtics are a nice mix of A and B level players….Nobody other than Lebron would start on this Celtics team. Plus Mike Brown is just as poor of a coach as Doc Rivers is – so you know there is no game plan being devised. I could be wrong, but I see the Celtics winning in 6 or 7. They don’t fear playing in Cleveland.

  9. elKrisp - May 10, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Um…. Heywood.
    You just said Big Baby loves to run?
    Seriously, that kid is like a ox trying to dance ballet.

  10. rtf100 - May 10, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Who caught that behind the back pass from Rondo when the game was not yet won. I thought that was amazing. If Rondo botched that play and Celtics did not win the game, we would be talking about the “big three” for a long time still.

  11. jvcorazo - May 10, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    there are no guaranteed perpetual titles in any sports even basketball…you either earn them every outing or someone faster, smarter, hungrier will snatch that fancy title away from you when you least expect it…that’s the storyline between Le Bron James and Rajon Rondo in this Eastern Conference playoffs…King James better watch out or he might become just a footnote for this 2010 season if the ragin’ Rajon Rondo and his Celtics team keeps motoring passed the Cavs on its way to the biggest upset in recent NBA history…

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