Didn't have to.
Rondo stole the ball, he faked out the Heat, drove the lane, played defense, had 10 assists, pushed the tempo. If it was possible for him to play more complete a game than he did in Game 2 he accomplished in Boston's closer-than-it-should-have-been 101-91 victory over the Heat.
Boston, we have a series.
"My goal was to win by any means necessary," Rondo said. "My job is to be the leader out there, to be an extension of Doc."
Rondo, who played 96 minutes in about 51 hours starting Wednesday night, is nowhere close to being tired.
"I feel great," he said. Life is great when you're 26. His rebound and coast-to-coast drive and one with 4:28 to play put Boston up 95-82 gave the Celtics ample cushion to absorb Miami's final burst. Complete coverage.
Rondo's been the unlikeliest of superheroes for Boston ever since his breakdown and ejection in Game 1 against Atlanta. He was somber and succinct after losing Wednesday. Contrast that with the clown show put on by LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, who had no trouble yukking it up wearing their Tom Brady glasses despite failing miserably with the chance to put the Celtics away. Wade can always smile, he already has a ring.
After three games - this series is tied up at 1-1-1-1. Heat 1, Celtics 1, Rondo 1, refs 1. Friday's sweetness makes Game 2's loss just that much more bitter. A month into the playoffs, the Celtics also found their bench.
The Celtics generated offense from some unexpected sources - namely Keyon Dooling, and Marquis Daniels, who left a marquis d' excellence on the Garden floor by gunning, cutting and slashing their way for 16 points. The Celtics were a combined +24 with Dooling and Daniels. Stunning given the invisibility of the bench throughout the playoffs, not just in this series. The play of those two in particular paid dividends beyond the box score, lessening the impact of Miami's defense on the starters.
"I've been here three years," Daniels told Comcast Sports rookie reporter Brian Scalabrine. "I just know to keep moving when he's got the ball."
The raucous Garden crowd, well lubricated and loud long before the 8:30 tip helped move the home team as well.
KG: "Jungle was rockin' tonight. I wanna thank the fans who came out. The ----- Jungle was rocking' tonight. We loved it. We ---- loved it."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 2, 2012
Every member of The Big Four hit double figures, with Paul Pierce (23), Push-Ups Garnett (24) and Rondo (21) combining for 68 points. Truthfully, things could have been even better for the Celtics as Pierce missed 14 of his 21 attempts. Thanks to Rondo's ball movement early the Celtics were able to hammer away inside and finished with 58 points in the paint. The Celtics shot 50 percent (38 for 76) and Garnett hit on 10 of 16. Allen, thankfully, only took eight shots, hitting four, as the offense moved away from him except in those circumstances where he was either wide open or given a clear path to the basket.
The Heat wilted early and were never really in this thing despite the mini-scare in the fourth quarter. Boston's 24-point lead was too much for LeBron to overcome by himself. The Celtics winning this game was no surprise with the home crowd and all that. The big lead and coasting to the finish was not. While the non-call against D-Wade's rake of Rondo was pivotal in Game 2, there were no cries of corrupt officiating or refs taking payoffs from Pat Riley or David Sterleone at halftime. Funny how the fouls are evenly called (44-44) in a game that the Celtics win decisively, if not 100 percent comfortably.
No need for those Tim Donaghy masks - but they could always come in handy Sunday night at the Garden.
"The Green Hornet" and friends vow they'll be ready to defend their turf again in Game 4. NBA playoff series never really begin until the home team loses a game. Let's hope things don't get underway in this one until Tuesday in Miami.
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