Derrick Rose, you just got Rondo’d
One limped off the court; the other walked to his locker room with his tail between his legs. One posted a third-straight dominant offensive performance; the other finally slipped up in his third attempt at one of the most promising point guards in the NBA. One was a -32; the other a +26. One shot four for 14 from the field; the other nailed eight of 15 shots. The one who won wore green; the loser wore red.
Rajon Rondo made a statement in the third game of what had been a classic first-round series until the Celtics and Bulls traveled to the rose-pedaled United Center on Thursday night. Derrick Rose, who found out he easily won the Rookie of the Year award prior to the game and had showcased his tremendous skills during the first two games of the series, got Rondo’d in game three. Rose’s final line: nine points, three rebounds, two assists, no steals, no blocks, and seven turnovers in 33 minutes. In short, nothing went right for Rose, and there was a reason: Rondo busied himself stripping the Bulls of their offensive mojo with another five steals and a ridiculous 20, 11, and six line in 34 minutes on a team where he’s supposedly the fourth best player.
Last night was a coming out party. Those who follow the Celtics closely have noticed Rondo’s ascendancy for quite a while. He can simply do everything on the court at this point. He’s putting up numbers of a young LeBron James, threatening a triple double every night. In fact, he’s averaging an absurd 22.7, 10.7, 9.7, and four steals per game against Chicago, and shooting 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from three (granted, on only four attempts), and 75 percent from the charity half circle. For a guy who "can’t shoot," he seems pretty adept at it. And the three-point percent isn’t a mirage either. He’s not jacking lucky shots, he’s calmly nailing key trey-balls when his team needs it, something he started doing about halfway through the season, and will continue improving at in the coming years. National announcers don’t often see these progressions players make until the playoffs, because they see just a glimpse at a time. So ready yourself for gushing from the guys calling the games now that they’ve had the privilege to watch what Celtics fans have seen this year: Rondo has taken the leap.
He’ll be an All Star next year if there’s any justice, and he’s fast becoming the Green’s best player, KG or no KG. Paul Pierce used to do it all and still does when he has the legs and Ray Allen still bails the team out with clutch shots in times of need, but it’s Rondo who does it all now and makes the machine work.
Derrick Rose, you just got Rondo’d. But don’t fret, the rest of the NBA has been and will be receiving the same treatment for quite some time.