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Rondo’s Domination, In Numbers

 

Basketball-Reference’s database for individual player games goes back to the 1990-91 season. You might be wondering things like, gee, how often has an NBA player put up those sorts of numbers in an NBA playoff game. Let’s find out! 

Since the ’91 season, exactly one other guard has scored at least 25 points and grabbed at least 18 rebounds in a playoff game. I’ll give you one guess who that might be.

Yup, it’s Michael Jordan, who slapped up a 38-19-7 on Philadelphia in a 1991 playoff win. 

How about if we drop the rebounding criteria down to 15 boards? We’re left with this list of 25-15 games by guards in the playoffs:

So, yeah, four other players and Rondo. Not a bad group. That Bonzi Wells outburst in 2006—a multi-game outburst, by the way—was one of the most random stretches of elite play in NBA history. 

Oh, and how many times has a player (of any position) put up at least 29 points, 18 boards and 13 assists in a playoff game since ’91? 

None

Until Rajon Rondo did it Sunday. 

And the C’s needed it, in part because they could not get their perimeter game going. Boston made just 1 of 14 three-point attempts, prompting a commenter to ask how often Boston has won when making so few triples. 

Answer: Since the KG/Ray trades, the Celtics are 2-5 in the regular season in games in which they hit 0 or 1 three-pointers and 3-1 in the playoffs (including Sunday’s win against the Cavs). 

So that’s 11 games out of 295 total the C’s have played since KG/Ray got here, or one game out of every 27. 

Overall, NBA teams were 18-56 this season in games in which they hit 0 or 1 threes. So it’s unusual for teams to win such games in an era in which the three has become a crucial weapon for just about every good team. 

But the C’s got Sunday’s game, in large part because of their $55 million point guard.

  • DRJ1

    And that was apparently one of the great bargains in history.

  • rondo-is-love

    There’s a lot of talk going on since the game that LeBron wants to guard Rondo now, at least for a few stretches during games… do you guys think that’ll open up Pierce’s offense? Ray has, I think, a 4-inch height advantage over Mo and Pierce has one inch on Anthony Parker (if that’s the switch they decide to make).

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I’ve been waiting for the LBJ/Rondo match-up to materialize. We’ll see. That’s a big commitment from LBJ that could impact his stamina on offense.

  • Mike

    I still can’t believe Rondo is only 24..

  • Jay P

    I hope he does:

    1) Yes, it opens up Pierce’s offense, no question. If they switch Parker over to Pierce, the Cap will enjoy a nice height advantage and should be able to get to his spots and rise up over him with ease (I emphasize should, cause who knows with Pierce right now.)

    2) Rondo will push Lebron, hard. He will have him running all over trying to stay with him, and this will impact him offensively.

    3) People talk about LBJs speed, which for a small forward is fantastic. For a small forward. Rajon’s speed is in a different category, he can’t stay with him (honestly, who can?)

  • http://www.kwapt.blogspot.com KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    And to think, some were complaining when he got that huge contract last Fall. Touche mofo’s.

  • rondo-is-love

    @ Jay P:

    If they switch Parker onto Pierce (which would be the only logical switch I could possibly think of, unless they plan on switching their starting lineup), PP only has one inch on Parker.. could make a huge difference.

    I hear commentators frequently say that Parker is an excellent defender, though… is that part true?

  • Sami

    I woke up this morning with the feeling Rondo would erupt for a triple-double. Turns out I was right.

    I would love to se LBJ on Rondo. It would open Pierce up for sure and exhaust LBJ in the process.

  • kgkgkgkg

    This is officially Rondo’s team now.

  • http://celticshub.com Stephen

    Rondo is absolutly sick right now.If Pierce comes out of hiding this series is over.I’d love to see Lebron try to stay with Rondo. Mike Brown better think long and hard about that move!!!

  • Dan

    Hopefully the value we get on Rondo’s deal will offset the cap damage of the 2012 version of Sheed.

  • KC

    Did cleveland pick Rondo up full court like they did in game 3? Just curious to see if they kept it up after the game 3 win.

    If they did press, did they do it all the time or only some of the time?

  • Paolo

    I’m curious to whether LBJ had success guarding Rose in the first round. It could be a very good gauge if LBJ defending Rondo is as beneficial for the Cavs’ plan to stop Rajon.

    But then, the difference is the C’s have more weapons than the Bulls.

  • Urbeltic

    I heard someone (Kenny) say that by sagging off Rondo (to give him a jump shot) you actually end up giving him more angles to pass. But sticking a big dude on him (lbj) and sagging might close down those angles and make the sagging strategy work better.

    Rondo has a lot on the table for game 5, if it’s a dud the world goes back to sleep, if he slices up the cavs again….it’s all his.

  • JP

    Chris Broussard actually just wrote an article detailing these types of numbers. Go over to espn to read it, I don’t have the link in front of me, sorry. Basically only Wilt, Oscar, and now Rondo have had those types of numbers in a playoff game if I remember the article correctly.

  • Jay P

    @rondo-is-love

    You’re right, Parker is listed at 6-6. I should have checked that before I said anything. I actually thought it was higher, he plays small for his size.

    Anyway, he is a pretty solid defender I suppose, I guess that was the idea in moving him to Rondo, but he just doesn’t have the speed. That’s kinda my point though, if Parker’s speed couldn’t keep up, how will James? As fast as James is for a 6-8 guy, Rondo is absolutely lightning.

    Also all this talk about defensive match ups makes me have to wonder, why aren’t we getting more shots for Ray (he did have 20 in Game 4, that’s awesome, hope it continues.) I was thinking, ok, LBJ on Rondo, Parker on Pierce, who covers Allen… wait Mo Williams is covering Allen. Hold on, Ray Allen has 4 inches on Williams. Good lord, get him the ball and let him shoot.

    Game 5 is going to be interesting, very very interesting. I wonder if all this tinkering with lineups might catch up with with Cleveland. It just seems to me that as “deep” as their bench is they don’t have the defensive match ups.

    Ya they can score, but there’s so many problems for them in match ups with the Cs:

    1) No one can match Rondo’s speed. No one.
    2) Jamison can’t stop KG, if you bring in Varejao and go big (V/Shaq) you lose Jamison’s offense and ability to stretch the floot, play Jamison/Varejao, and you lose the post presence (Varejao has nothing on Boston bigs in the post.)
    3) Perkins is manhandling Shaq.
    4) Mo Williams can’t play Rondo, and he gives up 4 inches to Ray Allen. There’s not a good match up out there for him.
    5) Boston has so many options who have been effective guarding LBJ. Pierce, Tony, Ray, Daniels have all had good stretches agaisnt him. Ray and Tony seem to have been the most effective to me, but still, there’s options.

    I could probably go on, but that’s enough to prove my point. You look at this series, and except for Game 3, Boston has dominated. They should have won Game 1, they controlled almost the entire game, and coughed it up in the 4th. That wasn’t a Cleveland win, it was a Boston loss. Game 2, no comment necessary. Game 3, in my mind, was a fluke, Cleveland didn’t miss a shot, contested, un-contested, it didn’t matter, that’s not going to happen every game. Game 4 was a better testament to this series, both teams were in it almost the whole game, both had their runs. In the end, Boston did what they needed to do to close out. Best game of the series so far.

    Their in control, they’ve been in control, and this series could, and probably should be 3-1 right now.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Congratulations Rondo! You were the MVP on the floor yesterday.

    Now, you have to think ahead Rajon. They are probably gonna trap you & try to get the ball out of your hands. But it could be a great opportunity if you see the trap coming & rush toward the basket. You attack the trap instead of the trap attacking you. Their defense will be lopsided & in disarray when trapping because they are gambling.

    I also think they are gonna put such an emphasis on stopping Rajon from rebounding that Ray Ray or TA will have golden opportunities to rebound. They have been very good at blocking out KG & Perk (Paul hasn’t really attacked the glass). Now, they will plan for Rondo also, but you can’t rob Peter to pay Paul……..putting such emphasis on Rondo will leave other guys open to grab rebounds if they really want to win.

    I don’t know how Doc is gonna do it, but DOC HAS TO PLAY RAJON & TA TOGETHER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. TA represents a type of player who is not out there on the floor with the starters— Very quick, athletic, mobile, & springy guy who slashes to the basket with tremendous speed & can get up & finish. AND TA LOVES TO RUN the floor. Rajon & TA really complement each other very well. Who gets the ball down the court in blitzkrieg mode? Rajon. Who really LOVES to keep up with him? TA. Magic had Worthy to finish. Rondo needs someone just like TA to keep up & finish in transition. Also, there is scary speed & startling reaction times out there with Rajon & TA on defense. Together they are extremely dangerous for forcing turnovers or just jamming up their guards=their entire offense. I saw Delonte really confused. Rondo was guarding him, & he wanted to pass to bron, but TA was ball denying bron so well that he was afraid to throw the pass—- meanwhile tick tick tick. Rondo & TA are a very, very, very good tandem on D & O.

    I love Paul, but if Paul or anyone else gets in foul trouble & is sitting for awhile, it is their absolute DUTY when they come back in to play energetic D & use their extra rest TO RUN VERY HARD DOWN THE COURT. Rondo is just like a QB looking for some receivers down field. Guys who run really hard are getting the passes & ez baskets, especially late in games when the other team is tired. I cannot stand to see guys who have been sitting on the bench from foul trouble JOGGING OR WALKING when they get back in the game. That complete lack of effort to run hard is just sick & pathetic— slackers should be forced to clean all the bathrooms in the garden with a toothbrush.

  • DEC

    Play of the game by Rondo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHANpb4nN2w

  • http://www.hotmail.com Josh

    Rondo’s game yesterday was absolutely stupid. I’ve never in my life witnessed a point guard destroy like that. NAAASTY.

  • Perry

    You have to attribute some of Rondo’s heroics to his improved free shooting. No longer is he a liability from the perimeter – ergo he’s becoming more aggressive in the paint even when teams sag off of him. Since his offensive game is more polished than previous years his free throw attempts are mounting in stunning numbers.

    The question Mike Brown will have to answer is will he opt for Lebron and if so will that be the move that unlocks Pierce on the offensive end?

  • Jay P

    @ Perry

    It has to be, LBJ will limit Rondo more than Parker can, for sure. I still think Rondo can get around him, and will certainly put his speed to the test. But, it’s going to make things difficult for him, this means Pierce has to step up. It also means the off the ball movements has to be great, Ray needs to find ways to get open, KG has to be effective in the post. If Lebron switches off, you can’t expect Rondo to have that kind of performance again, other guys will have to step up.

    The good news though is, it’s definitely going to test Lebron’s endurance if he’s gotta run all over the court to check Rondo, and the Celtics have plenty of guys who can step up once all the focus goes to Rondo.

    If you watch Lebron is defense he’s so much of a roamer, he’s basically playing free safety out there, since Pierce isn’t dominating the ball. He sags off, and knows if Pierce gets the ball, he has plenty of speed to close on him to contest, and if Pierce drives he can recover and stay with him.

    Now for the simple fact that Rondo has the ball, all the time, LBJ will have to stay on him, he can’t give him too much space, because he’s been hitting the jump shot, and also because if he sags off it lets Rondo see the floor better, and pick his lane (and not even LBJ can shuffle quick enough to cut off Rondo’s lane once he gets going.) So it means he’ll have to pressure the ball and try to get Rondo out of his momentum. Do that and you take Lebron out of his “free safety” role, and completely open up court movement and spacing for the Cs.

    Allen should be able to get open, Pierce should get open, and the help on KG will be much tougher to execute.

  • Jay P

    Celtics Blog posted Rondo’s interviews from practice today.

    Great stuff, the guy is stone cold professional.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/extras/celtics_blog/2010/05/rondo_unfazed_b_1.html

  • Perry

    @Jay P

    Let’s not forget that KG match up either. I have no problem with his shot attempts in this series. In terms of scoring I’d rather see a more balanced stat sheet, but if Rondo has it going I don’t want to see him differ his offense in the 4th quarter. During the season he took over games in spurts. Now it seems he’s not afraid to call his own number. That rebound and put back with 1:36 left sealed the deal.

    You have to admire Ray and his feisty D on Lebron, but I don’t like using him to protect Pierce because you run the risk of both guys fouling out. But you’re right about Lebron’s endurance being tested, and that may keep whoever is defending him a bit more fresh if he’s settling for jump shots.

    Anytime you can pull him away from the paint on either end is a big plus. I think Brown will experiment because nothing else has worked. Lebron himself said it’ll put more pressure on Mo Williams should he get the nod. Pierce then could in fact take Mo out of the series. So if Lebron gets his 35-40 points, but expends energy guarding Rondo who in a Cleveland uniform will step up and take some of the burden off his shoulders? The media would love to see him drop 40 and hold Rondo down, but I don’t think he can do both well enough to the win the series.

    I’m not even sure it’ll matter. This isn’t the same Rondo who became passive with Kobe defending him. He’s arrived at point now where he can call the game as the defense dictates what match ups his team can exploit. There’s no reason why LBJ can’t be run into a screen set for Rondo or use Rondo in a screen/roll. The ball is going to move for sure, and Rondo is going to make the right decision. The Celts are not going to register more 1 for 14 nights from three, and Pierce is too much of competitor to stay in this funk.

    Do you or anyone else remember these kind of defenses schemes designed to stop Tiny, Isaiah or even Iverson? They’re all similar in size and were more efficient as perimeter shooters at that stage of their careers.

  • Jay P

    @Perry

    Excellent points, I completely agree with you on all accounts.

    I’ve said if before and I’ll say it again, throwing out Game 3, the Celtics have dominated this series. Cleveland should feel very lucky that it’s 2-2 right now.

  • rav

    Dayum. one of those games Bonzi Wells got 10 Offensive Rebounds!

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