It occurred to me that I may have been too harsh in describing Rajon Rondo's performance in tonight's game recap. Rondo did, indeed, have trouble with Ty Lawson in the second quarter. But the Celtics point guard made 2 of 3 field goals and finished with 4 points and 13 assists. Though he did have five turnovers, there was nothing wrong with Rondo's efficiency, the assists coming in 30 minutes of play.
Are we expecting too much from Rondo? Is a decent game suddenly cause for irrational questions?
“He was great," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in response to question about Rondo's performance. "I thought Rondo was good, really good, as a matter of fact."
If Rondo had really been really good, he would have reached or exceeded his season averages of 11.4 points and 14.1 assists. But he played almost 10 fewer minutes than his season average tonight, coming out of the game with 4:38 left in the third quarter and going to the sideline with an apparent injury. Rivers was opaque as usual about Rondo's injury/lack of injury, and Rondo didn't talk to reporters after the game.
So, to recap: Rondo's assist numbers were pretty close to his season average despite 10 fewer minutes. Ty Lawson beat him to the basket a few times for 11 points and 4 assists in the second quarter. But Rondo shut down Lawson in the second half, and he shut down Chauncey Billups all game, holding the Nuggets All-Star to 5 points on 2-of-10 shooting.
Not a bad night for Rondo after all.
“I just went over -- and I know some speculation, and I’m not going to get into it. You all know what I’m talking about -- I went up to him as a man, and what I said is that I had nothing personal toward him nor any other cancer patient that are out there struggling dealing with life situations," said Garnett. "I wanted to say that to him, man to man. I was going to do it before the game, when the clocks and stuff was messed up, but I wanted get the game out of the way, and then approach him."
“I think coach really made a point of that," said Paul Pierce. "He really didn’t want to tell us that Carmelo wasn’t playing, I think he waited to the very last second cause he went over the game plan, so we took that to heart and went out there and just tried to establish ourselves in the first quarter."