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RondoWorld and the limitlessness of what we don’t know

May 31, 2012, 6:00 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Two

Lost in the nonsense about officiating in a game in which a team that has averaged 97.1 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs scored 118 yet the calls were what was out of place in Game2, there’s Rajon Rondo.

Rondo is, and always has been, a complete mystery, to everyone. It’s taken years for Doc Rivers to unwrap the riddle that is motivating Rondo, years for teammates to understand how he operates. The media? Clueless. They admit it, they accept it, and the most common refrain from guys that cover the team day in and day out is “that’s Rondo, that’s just what he does.” He’ll seem polite one moment and searing the next, he’ll blow off questions, he’ll do charity events, he’s all over the place, and you’re never going to get to understand him because he has decided not to let anyone outside of his inner circle. And that’s completely his right. It’s honestly a little refreshing in the age of stars worried about their brand.

But his game brings questions, too. How can he seem so dominant the next, then so disengaged the next? Is he really the assist machine the stats say he is or is it a product of the Hall-of-Famers around him?How many of his assists are simply routine passes that result in scores as a result of a simple, but brutally effective system utilizing veterans who know how to replicate their success at an 80 percent effectiveness rate?

Is Rajon Rondo the best point guard in the league? Is Rajon Rondo the worst great point guard in the league?

Wednesday night answered none of these questions. But it did provide a glimpse at a world beyond the Big 3, beyond the grind-it-out fight club this Celtics team has to make every game in order to hang. It showed a Rondo that sports fans can dream about, untethered from having to find shots for players that can’t get up and down the floor, no longer having to defer to other players. A Rondo who is free to do what he wants. And a Rondo that can hit a jumper.

Rondo will always look back fondly on this run with the Big 3. What he learned from Kevin Garnett, about how to shut out the media and siphon his energy into his play. What Pierce taught him about leadership and taking charge of a game. What Ray Allen taught him about work ethic and execution. But there’s also a future ahead of Rondo. His career is just getting started.

Some believe that Rondo will crumple once this safety net is gone. Once Kevin Garnett is reflecting in California and Doc Rivers is enjoying life in his home in Florida. When Rondo is on his own, surrounded by players that can’t dominate, that can’t punish. There’s an idea that he’ll turn back into a pumpkin, that he’ll be just another temperamental guard who once was great when surrounded by greatness.

To that I ask, “Are you nuts?”

Rondo’s game Wednesday night is not the perfect game to measure him by. To be honest, he hit the jumpshot better than he may ever hit it again. (Note: Rondo has improved considerably in the past two years at the mid-range jumpshot. He’s just not that good.) But his control of the game is. He knew when to jet past the defender and slip to the rim. He knew when to freeze on the drive, post, pump-fake, and kick out. He knew how to find easy buckets, how to find open looks, how to get past what is honestly one of the best defenses in the league. That is not some “product of the system” crew he got past with speed. It’s a smart, tough, hyper-athletic, hulking monster crew of defenders that attack relentlessly.

And Rondo shredded them.

44 points on 24 shots, 10 of 12 from the line, eight rebounds, ten assists, three steals, three turnovers.

31.7% Usage rate. .751 TS%, 41.7% Assist rate.

Mastery of basketball. Total and complete mastery.

Boston lost, despite this performance, and that’s a whole other conversation (or screaming rant if you choose to break it down to one missed foul on Dwyane Wade). But the fact it was in a loss almost makes it more epic. It shows you what was needed from him. That there was no way Rondo could have done less and Boston could have survived. He showed what could be for his future, what a future in Rondoworld looks like. It’s like some sort of mixture of “Cool World” and a post-apocalyptic arena like “Mad Max” or the video from “California Love.” It’s a world where Rondo’s singular hatred of everything in his way is translated into accuracy and brutality, where a cerebral player that can’t control his emotions uses that energy to outwork, out-execute, and out-perform whatever is in his way.

It makes you wonder what it would be like if he had athletes around him, if he could run, if he wasn’t trying to drag the game into the mud so his teammates could get a stranglehold on the opponent. And this way? It’s going to win more often. We’ve seen that. That’s proven.

But the future of Rondoworld? It’s still enough for you to marvel at. The future is now, and it’s amazing.

  1. Deathmask - May 31, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    One of the best articles I’ve read on this site. Refreshing perspective here.

    • wlubake - May 31, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      Completely disagree. I was about to post the following:

      Mr. Moore, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • therealroman - May 31, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        lame. also: rondo is a hell of player

      • illegalblues - May 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

        huh

      • wlubake - May 31, 2012 at 11:41 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with the sentiment. Rondo is a stud. It’s more that I have little use for rambling editorials that read like a fan blog.

  2. koloofai - May 31, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Mr Moore you must be smokin the good stuff to come up with gibberish like this

  3. thekingdave - May 31, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    God dude that Billy Madison response was past it’s time 10 years ago give it a rest

    • acdc363 - May 31, 2012 at 6:53 PM

      A simple “wrong” would have done just fine

  4. astrosfan75956 - May 31, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    This is a well written article.

  5. acdc363 - May 31, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Mr. Moore:

    I feel like I never really gave you a chance when I first joined PBT but nowadays I look forward to your articles. Keep up the good stuff!

    • bozosforall - May 31, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      In other words, as long as you continue to slurp the Celtics like their fan base does, he will consider you a great writer. Deviate from that just one bit and acdc will turn…well, ac/dc on you.

      • acdc363 - May 31, 2012 at 7:50 PM

        I like all his articles. He’s got funny insight.

      • bozosforall - May 31, 2012 at 9:07 PM

        Yeah..funny..just as long as he continues to slurp the Celtics, that is.

    • drewzducks - May 31, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      Pay no attention to that Blowzo and his innuendoes. He used to run with Magic and Arsenio in the 80’s until he gave Magic and Cookie…well you know the rest of the story.

      • doctorhoops - Jun 1, 2012 at 3:42 PM

        Please go easy on Flamey the Clown. Don’t want to run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  6. lakerluver - May 31, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    It’s a shame the C’s lost that game after Rondo played so brilliantly.

    • bozosforall - May 31, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      No, it’s not. No one on the Celtics had more than 3 assists (besides Rondo, that is). Everything had to go through Rondo, because the rest of the team is old and worn out. Their total play is anything but team play…it was Rondo and four jumpshooting statues.

      • thetruth1313 - Jun 1, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        You mean like a game that Kobe had when he recently scored 40+ with no assists and LOST!

        Lakers know all about team play right Bozo? Atleast the Celtics made it this far.

      • bozosforall - Jun 1, 2012 at 6:32 PM

        I’ll gladly take FIVE rings this millenium over the ONE measly ring that the Celtics bought in 2007.

  7. ajpurp - May 31, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    I like the content but the grammar is, quite simply, horrific.

  8. broncos124 - May 31, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Rondo best piont guard in the NBA .

  9. duane888 - May 31, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    I don’t see what the hype is all about. It was one game, and his shot was falling.

    Did he play like that in the Philly series??

    Did Miami have a PG of their own that could cover Rondo??

    Better yet, does Miami even have a PG??

    • ishudbgm - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:24 AM

      @duane888

      Yea Miami has a PG…..may not be a house hold name but something was in the air because he had quite a solid game himself.
      Chalmers 22points, 6 ass, 4 reb.

    • jek84 - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Miami has some guy named Dwyane Wade and somebody they call King James, you may have heard of them. They were the two guys who tried guarding Rondo all night.

  10. bleedgreen11 - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Nicely written article… you should consider sending some of your guys over to PFT to proofread and edit their articles before they post them.

  11. ishudbgm - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Just let me know when this book is turned into a movie. LBJ won MVP and I don’t think someone could write such a long article about him. Rondo had an amazing game but I can’t help but think that articles like this and people going crazy over his performance is what makes him act so damn bi-polar. His agent needs to tell him that he is about to be the face of a historical franchise….set yourself up personality wise to cash in BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Could be an extra $10m a year in endorsements if he plays this the right way, even if its not about the money don’t become Rose 2.0 and turn people off from wanting to play on your team.

  12. jh4prez - Jun 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    He’s gonna look great in miami next year.what?no?well didnt all you boston guys want to trade him earlier in the year.lol!

  13. infectorman - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Really have to hand it to the Heat Little 2.

    It is nothing short of miraculous that the 2 of them can keep from busting a gut after seeing all of the “fouls” get called against Boston for aspirating in their general area of their presumed entitled greatness of Bon-Bon and D. Y. Wane.

    For real, not sure how they cannot burst into uncontrolled laughter and hilarity at the misfortune of their opponent getting called for fouls over and over again for often essentially running up and down the floor and being within 6 inches is his entitled highness.

    And Wade!! The Karate Kid himself, vanquishing his arch enemy with a flying Bruce- Lee-Tai-Kwan-Do-kick on his way to the basket.

    As if to say to Garnett, “How dare you stand in the lane while I’m running into you!
    I perform Karate KICK! on you to show you the dishonor of your actions!!!” all in a cheap Kung-Fu movie style where the overdubbed English voice track doesn’t match the lip movements of the actor.

    Classic.
    Twenty. Four. Free. Throws. WOW!

    Wade had 2 major Offensive fouls at critical junctures that turned into defensive fouls on Boston. Hope you Miami fans are proud of your team..

    I am beyond impressed with their ability to keep straight faces throughout this entire debacle

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