I heard some guys on the radio comparing Alex Rodriguez’s numbers to Reggie Jackson’s. One guy is a post-season choker, the other is “Mr. October.” The numbers: They were almost identical. Which just went to highlight one thing that defines clutch in sports.
It’s not how many stat lines you can fill out. It’s WHEN you fill them out.
Last night, Rajon Rondo’s shooting numbers weren’t great… but he was clutch. He wanted to be clutch. He needed to be clutch.
Down as many as 14 points… down 7 to start the 4th… Rajon Rondo saw an opportunity to be a leader. It was him and mostly a bunch of guys who might not see as much time on the floor all season as they did last night.
In the time the C’s were down 7 to start the 4th to the time they took an 83-82 lead, Rondo had 6 points, 2 assists and a steal. That’s 5 and a half minutes worth of work. He tacked on 5 more points, another assist and a couple of rebounds to end the game. 11 of his 18 points came in the 4th quarter.
It’s too early to declare anything. It’s hard to get overly worried or excited about anything in the preseason. So I’m not going to sit here and make any definitive statements about Rondo. I will say that Rajon showed some balls last night. The Nets kept most of their starters out there in the 4th quarter. Rajon led a mashup of second and third teamers back from a huge hole to win the game. That counts for something. His jumper looked more fluid. His vision looked sharp. His decision making was on point. All good signs.
Assuming Rondo’s contract situation gets worked out, and he does stay a Celtic for his entire career, then this will be his team soon enough. It’s nice to see the ability to lead a team without the Big 3 this early in the process. It might just be a nice little glimpse into the future.