Rondo: I wanted to make a point
|05.07.09 at 12:28 am ET|
Rajon Rondo sat in his locker before Game 2 Wednesday night and was asking reporters if he thought he could be more aggressive.
Whether rhetorical or not, the most important answer came from Rondo himself on the court.
Rondo, with 18 assists, 15 points and 11 rebounds, became just the second player in team history to record three triple-doubles in a postseason and the first since Larry Bird in 1986 as the Celtics cruised, 112-94, over the Magic to tie the Eastern Conference semifinal at 1-1.
But still, Rondo wasn’t completely satisfied afterward.
“Probably like a B-plus,” Rondo said when asked to grade his night. “It really wasn’t my ‘A’ game. I really didn’t shoot the ball well. I tried to get guys open. I was trying to do the intangible things on the floor. My offensive game wasn’t flowing for me. Just trying to pick it up defensively and get my guys going early.”
But the loudest statement he made came in the third quarter. After missing no fewer than three floating runners within 10 feet of the basket in the first half, Rondo came up with a different strategy. And he made Dwight Howard and the Magic frontcourt his victims in the process.
With 1:40 left in the third quarter, he took a pass from Kendrick Perkins and drove from the top of the key down a vacated lane to the basket and slammed the ball through, electrifying the crowd in the process.
“I was just tired of Dwight challenging my shots and I was struggling with my floater so I just wanted to take it to the basket pretty strong,” Rondo said.
“First of all, Perk passes to E (House) and then E had (Mickael) Pietrus running at him and I see Dwight and Rashard (Lewis) under the basket as soon as I got it,” Rondo recalled. “I was like, ‘I’ve got to go strong.’ My flow wasn’t going at the time so I wanted to go up and attack the rim. I tried it last game but it wasn’t successful. I hit the floor but this time I was determined to not hit the floor and go through.”
The play was very indicative of just how much more aggressive the Celtics were than the Magic on this night.
“I don’t know if they backed off but we just kept the pressure on them,” Rondo said. “We put it on them for 48 minutes and then we kind of slacked to end the second quarter. They cut it to 15 I believe but other than that, we just kept the gas down and kept attacking defensively.
“It’s all I thought about after the loss, was how sluggish I started the game. I can make a lot of excuses but I just didn’t come out and play with great passion that first half and it was too late in the second half to try and get back. I wanted to come out tonight and make a point,” Rondo added.