The man, the myth, the legend. ‘Playoff’ Rondo is back!
Rajon Rondo has a knack for stepping up and performing in the playoffs, and that was in full display again as he helped the New Orleans Pelicans sweep the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Rondo was just impeccable as he orchestrated the Pelicans’ offense in a series which saw him average a near triple-double of 11.25 points, 13.25 assists and 7.5 rebounds — a huge leap from his 8.3-8.2-4.0 stat line in the 2017-18 regular season.
That was undoubtedly classic ‘Playoff’ Rondo. And as he tries to steer the Pels to title contention, let’s take a look at some of his best performances in the postseason over the years.
Game 6, 2008 NBA Finals – Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: 21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 6 steals
Rondo’s shooting has been a problem since his early years in the league. However, in the title-clinching Game 6 of the 2008 Finals, he showed his brilliance and tallied a 21-8-7 stat line that ripped the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers apart. Also, he committed only one turnover in that game while getting six steals!
Little did we know that it was also the start of a legend that we now call ‘Playoff’ Rondo.
Game 2, 2009 NBA Playoffs First Round – Boston Celtics vs Chicago Bulls
Stats: 19 points, 16 assists, 12 rebounds, 5 steals
If the final game of the 2008 campaign is Rondo’s introduction to the big stage, his exploits in the 2009 NBA Playoffs opening round is his coming-of-age moment.
Entering the series without Kevin Garnett, Rondo took it upon himself to lead the Celtics. Fortunately for Boston, Rondo delivered and even recorded his first career playoff triple-double in Game 2 of the series against Derrick Rose and Chicago Bulls.
Rondo ended up tallying another triple-double in the series as the Celtics advanced to the next round after seven games and seven overtimes.
Game 4, 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals – Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: 29 points, 13 assists, 18 rebounds
Rondo cemented his place in Celtics basketball lore with a superb performance in the 2010 East semis against the Cavaliers. With Boston in danger of falling into a 3-1 hole, Rondo produced a historic triple-double performance that saw him become only the third player in playoff history to have at least 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists.
The other two? Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain.
It’s safe to say that Rondo’s heroics sent LeBron packing and out of Cleveland.
Game 2, 2012 Eastern Conference Finals – Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat
Stats: 44 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds
In Game 2 of the 2012 East finals, Rondo had the best playoff game of his career against the star-studded Miami Heat. It was undoubtedly the peak of ‘Playoff’ Rondo as he went toe to toe with LeBron who was also at the height of his powers.
Rondo played all 53 minutes and made 44 points to go along with 10 assists and eight boards. More amazingly, he scored all of Boston’s 12 points in overtime.
Sadly, Rondo’s efforts went in vain as they eventually lost to the Heat.