That’s the word Rajon Rondo summed his Game 2 performance up with at the press conference where it took every thread on his bright red blazer not to criticize officials. From someone who screamed “Oh, c’mon!” at every made jumper, irrelevant is the last word(s) that came to mind. For me, it was more like “thank God.”
I knew Boston would come out swinging, especially following Game 1. The C’s hate Miami. In a parallel universe, they were the Heat’s blueprint. Except, somewhere along the way, Rajon Rondo spawned into the best player and the act suddenly became known as Rajon Rondo and The Big Three. Wednesday’s Game 2 was a statement, in a sense. A statement solidifying the notion if Rondo’s jumper and free throws ever found a way to fall as consistently as they did this warm night in South Beach, his impact on basketball would be even scarier than it is now.
I had a friend tell me not too long ago, “If Rondo ever developed a jumper and somewhat consistent free throw stroke, he’d be the best player in basketball.” Say whatever needs to be said, but that’s a legitimate argument. If nothing else, top three, no? And remember, this is the guy who has found himself involved so many trade rumors even Andrew Bynum and Luol Deng pay homage in the “really good player, but for some reason I’m always trade bait” fraternity.
Immediately following the game, I quickly shot out three tweets and exited Twitter. One, because I knew the wolves were out. Two, because reading my mentions sometimes gets me pissed because people somehow believe I’ve got the answer to everything LeBron does or doesn’t do. And three, because I knew the wolves were out. More than any of those trio of points though, I was still in amazement. A week ago, I witnessed James put forth a Game 4 in Indiana for the ages on the road in a must win game.
Then, right before my eyes, Rondo was putting on the same sort of magician show and I suddenly felt like a Pacers fan. Rondo channeled the ghost of Larry Bird drowning every jumper and free throw scoring all 12 of Boston’s overtime points. He hounded everyone he guarded on defense. And he played every damn second with his headband, baggy shorts and a throwback Kevin Durant backpack worth of arrogance.
There was a point in particular in the fourth quarter when I put the TV on mute and told myself, “Self, Rajon Rondo is really about to single handedly win this game and there’s nothing you can do. How are you going to defend this one?” It was the first time in 26 years I stumped my own damn self. As emotional as it was, the entire roller coaster was frickin’ amazing, man. At the end of the night, Double R did something no other player in history accomplished tallying 44 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. The line was so impressive it completely overshadowed Bron’s rocky, but league leading 30-10-5 playoff game for the 17th time since 2006 (14 more than anyone in that span).*
Yes, Rondo and the C’s took the L and I’m happier than Drake at his bar mitzvah that they did. The free throw disparity does nothing but fuel the “this whole series is rigged” debate, even though Beantown had several fouls they had no need committing. And true, Dwyane Wade did Liu Kang kick Kevin Garnett.
I turned from ESPN knowing two vital truths.
1. Rajon Rondo should’ve gotten that foul call when he was raked over the face right in front of the official. He didn’t call it, and Boston eventually lost, but Rondo earned his stripes. And hey, who knows, maybe that’s a make up call for the refs developing convenient amnesia at the end of Game 6 of their opening round series versus the Hawks. In the grand scheme of things, Rajon may be right calling what he pulled “irrelevant” since it never resulted in a win; second place is the first loser, after all. For one night, and not that he or any Celtics fan cares, his respect level from yours truly just elevated three notches higher than it already was. Dude is a gamer if there ever was one. Here’s to Boston being zapped of any energy they had left in the tank for Game 3 on Friday night.
1.5. Really, Paul? Just pull a Randy Moss in Washington and walk to the locker room before the game’s over? True. Let me shut up before catching another charge speaking ill of the man they call “The Truth.”
2. Six more wins.
Previously — 8 Points To Watch In The Heat Vs. Celtics Series
* – The Internet and Skip Bayless says he choked. And since neither has ever told a lie, I’m riding with Skip and the ‘Net.