Rajon Rondo is one that we have come to expect to rise to the occasion when playing against other top guards in the league. So far this season he has pretty much “took it” to every other top guard in the league, besides Steve Nash, who came out on top thanks to lights out shooting by the rest of the Suns team.
Rondo is at the top of the league himself when it comes to the quickness and court awareness that you look for in a “true point guard“. When Rondo knows he needs to step up his game, or if he has something to prove, he is much more productive and shows much more energy out on the floor.
The theme the entire year has been as Rondo goes, the Celtics go. When Rondo comes to play, 9.9 out of 10 times the Celtics are going to come out on top. So far this season Rondo has came out on top against the following point guards in the league: Mo Williams, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Lou Williams, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, and the most recent Brandon Jennings. He also has defeated other point guards, but none that are really worth mentioning.
One of the major talks around the league this year had been, and still is, the great play of rookie Brandon Jennings. Some think he is the next superstar guard in the league, and others are still waiting to see if he can continue to prove it. I can only imagine Rondo didn’t want any of this talk to happen after he was done with the rookie.
Last night against Jennings and the Bucks, Rondo didn’t neccesarily show up ready to play, but by the end of the night he sure proved Brandon Jennings has nothing on him. Rondo never left Jennings side pockets as he limited Jennings to 17 points on 19 shots. In the fourth quarter Rondo also stepped it up assuring that “Young Buck” and the Milwaukee Bucks would not leave Boston with a W. Rondo scored all 11 of his points in the final quarter, dished out 13 assist and grabbed 9 boards in the win.
Following the game, Bucks coach Scott Skiles had the following to say about the matchup between Rondo and Jennings, via the Boston Globe:
“We had tremendous difficulty keeping him in front of us the whole game. We went to go under on the pick and rolls and we didn’t have any luck with that. We tried to make several adjustments and he took it to our rookie (Brandon Jennings) pretty good.”
Is it a mere coincidence that Rondo steps it up, and tries to “take it to” the better guards in the league? I think not. We all know that Rondo’s game can be very bi-polar. I personally believe this has nothing to do with skill level, but rather Rondo’s attitude during games, and going into games. In the games against point guards like Rose, Paul, and Jennings, we see a much more determined and consistent effort from Rondo. In games against teams like New York or New Jersey, we sometimes have seen Rondo taking the opponent lightly and not performing as well.
Once Rondo can get over the hump of sleeping against different opponents he will be even more valuable to the Celtics franchise. For now I guess I can only be happy with the effort we have come to see from Rajon Rondo in big games. I just hope that in the future we will see a complete effort from our fifty-five million dollar man during every quarter of every game.
(Photos by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)