As I searched the roster for somebody to focus this post on, I found myself at a loss. There were so many different options, most notably Scal and his suave, freshly shaven head. Then in the third quarter of the Pistonsí game it hit me (and Jason Maxiell) right in the face -- Rajon Rondo.
A lot of opponents have been left in the dust by Rondo this season (AP Photo)
Iíve always been drawn to point guards in the NBA because of their role as floor generals. Thereís something additionally special about Rondo though. Itís just his second year in the league, and he gets it. He pulls back on fast breaks when thereís no clear lane to the hoop, he knows how much defensive pressure to apply without getting the ticky-tack fouls, he hustles for every loose ball, and he keeps the pace of the game at an ideal level for the Celtics. What he lacks in size he makes up for in speed. He has improved every facet of his game during his sophomore season.
I know I probably sound like an intoxicated Paula Abdul crushing on an American Idol contestant, but Rondo has emerged as a star and my new favorite player (sorry Mark ďMad DogĒ Madsen).
Rondo has been providing at least one ďDid you see that?!Ē play per game all season long. I, like most cameramen in the NBA, still follow where the ball should go during his fake behind-the-back passes.
When he threw it down on Detroit's Jason Maxiell, I leaped off of my couch and immediately grabbed my phone to call my friend; only my phone started ringing before I could dial. It was my manic friend, who ended up sounding like Ron Burgundy in the phone booth scene from Anchor Man, but I understood everything he said. Too scatterbrained for words, I played it back on my DVR continuously for a good five minutes. Even now, while searching for the above YouTube link, I couldnít help but watch it a handful of times before getting back to writing.
Rondo has exceeded all expectations this year and he continues to improve with each game under his belt. The Celtics brought in Cassell to back up Rondo and provide some veteran leadership, but the fact remains that Rondo is our floor general and weíll go as far as he can lead us.
Iíve recently realized how absolutely in love with this roster I am. There isnít one player on the team that I truly dislike. Even the benchwarmers add a bit of comical must to the season. Their starting five consists of three future Hall of Famers (at least in my eyes), a blue-collar type down low and a young flashy point guard tying everybody together.
Next is the bench, which was continuously blasted in the preseason as being non-existent on this team. Only now are people finally realizing that this bench isnít a weak spot, in fact itís pretty darn good -- itís even got me using words like "darn". James Posey, the sixth man, has been phenomenal. I had no idea he was this good. Heís the type of player that needs to be on your team for you to fully understand all of the things he does and how well he does them. As Sam Cassell becomes familiar with the offense, he should provide some structure on the court while Rondo is taking a breather. Eddie House and Tony Allen, the two players who gained the most from the Cassell signing, add multiple backcourt scoring options off the bench. Big Baby, Leon Powe and now P.J. Brown deliver the low-post bodies.
Some quick hits
- How incredible has Posey been shooting threes lately? He is near the top on the Celticsí roster at nearly 40 percent. In this past weekendís game at Memphis he couldnít miss. After making one of his heat-check threes he just froze in place and sent the Celticsí bench into complete hysteria. Thatís just one of the hundreds of moments that has been making this season so special.
- Garnett has been unstoppable hitting those 20 footers since coming back from his injury. You have to figure teams will get clued in soon and start playing him tighter but that will just open up the low-post and give Perkins a few more easy dunks.
- Sam Cassellís debut didnít go so hot but that had to be expected since he has been out for nearly a month and has only been with the team for a week. He looked totally lost on the court, especially on defense. His postgame interview got a little odd as well when he just started laughing crazily. Welcome to the team, Sammy.
- The Celts got their 50th win on Monday night. Coming into this season I figured theyíd get 50 wins, I just didnít expect to get there after 62 games.