The defining moment of Rondo’s NBA career came in the playoffs this year when he and his Celtics took the floor in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals trailing the series 1-0 against the Miami Heat. Rondo knew he couldn’t let his team fall behind 0-2 in the series, as that would be a near-death sentence forBoston’s NBA Finals’ dreams. He made sure he did everything in his power to make sure that didn’t happen.
As soon as the game tipped-off, Rondo immediately looked to assert himself as an offensive threat. Criticized for being to passive at times, Rondo put the battered and bruised and carried them offensively, scoring 22 first-half points to help the Celtics build a 7-point half-time lead. He continued his offensive outburst, hitting long jumpers and driving hard to the rim against the likes of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
On a night where five players who are locks for the hall-of-fame(No, not Chris Bosh) took the floor, Rondo outshined them all. Rondo would finish the night with 44 points, but his Celtics fell just short in overtime, 115-111.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Rondo’s night went down as one of the single greatest performances in NBA playoff history. Here’s some noteworthy stats from his historic night:
- Rondo hit 16-of-24 shots, including 10-of-12 attempts from 15 or more feet from the basket, even hitting both of his three-point attempts.
- Before Game 2, Rondo had never made more than six shots in a game from 15-plus feet from the basket. Known for lacking a jump-shot, Rondo has now established that he can be an offensive threat from anywhere on the floor.
- His 44 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds made him the first player in NBA history to reach those marks in a playoff game.
- Despite playing in every minute and dominating the ball all game long, Rondo finished the game with just three turnovers.