The following is a piece by Henry Schwann
The Celtics weren’t the only ones who were exhausted after Friday night’s overtime win over the Hawks. I was totally zapped of all energy after watching Rajon Rondo’s brilliant yet frustrating triple-double. Just like the Celtics, I took Saturday off. I needed to clear my head because watching Rondo gets me so high one minute and so low the next.
Now that I’m rejuvenated after my 24-hour sabbatical, it’s time to admit that I’m OK with the emotional peaks and valleys of watching Rondo. I admit that I’ve never been a Rondo fan, but I’ve reached an epiphany. I now accept the Celtic’s point guard, warts and all.
It’s obvious that the Celtics would not have won Friday night’s game 3 showdown without Rondo. But just when it looked like he would lead the C’s to victory, he did a one-eighty that had me wondering if he was going to blow it. There was the Cousy-like sequence when he spun around Jannero Pargo and flipped behind his head to Paul Pierce for a corner three. Moments later he made a contested reverse layup where he spun the ball off the backboard in such a way that I swear he was playing a game of Horse. And then a drive off a K.G. screen where he unexpectedly flipped back to K.G. for a wide-open jumper. That assist had the Garden crowd oohing and aahing. But later in the fourth quarter, Rondo missed a layup and then shot an air ball on a floater that looked more like a push than a shot. But that’s the beauty of Rondo. He’s unpredictable. He plays loosey goosey. He’s an entertainer that’s going to do his thing, no matter what. Why fight it? From this point on, I accept the good, the bad, and the ugly of Rajon Rondo. It’s who he is.
The Rondo Jekyll and Hyde show continued in overtime. He started the extra frame by schooling Jeff Teague on a driving layup and then a post-up. But then (there’s always a “but then” with Rondo) he stole the ball, went in for a layup, lost control of his body, missed the shot, and tumbled to the ground. Then with the shot clock winding down, he looked lost, confused, and ultimately hoisted a long jumper that clanked off the backboard. A tweet seconds later said that was the ugliest Rondo moment he’s ever seen. I second that.
Rondo’s final stat line Friday night was 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists. It was his seventh career playoff triple double. Maybe the ugliest triple- double in basketball history. But the Celtics can’t win a playoff series without Rondo. He brings a unique skill set that no other player in the NBA has. Sure, the mercurial point guard can bump a ref and get thrown out. But he can also go on a tear that will win you a game, a series, even a championship. He’s unpredictable. He’s exciting. He’s sometimes maddening. But in the end, he’s a winner. It took me a long time to figure this out, but I accept Rajon Rondo.
Henry Schwan is a radio host and columnist. You can follow him on Twitter here