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Finishing School for Rondo

In 53 minutes of back-and-forth basketball last night, the lasting image of the game (other than Luis Scola’s face, which always lingers for a while) is easily Rondo’s blown game-winning layup.

Rondo went up with his right foot and right hand, which, while not the traditional form for a layup, shouldn’t really matter for a guy who’s probably made every possible layup variation throughout his career. He also seemed to get caught in-between on his steps: too far away when he hit his left foot, but a little close when he got down to his right. Either way, that one missed layup is pretty easy to explain away as an isolated event.

But the problem of Rondo missing layups is not exactly new. It’s not old! But it’s not new.

If you watched the Nets and Knicks games, you know that Rondo missed his share of point-blank gimmes in those games, also. And his miss in the Rockets game wasn’t the only one:┬áRondo had two layups blocked earlier in the game by noted swatters Kyle Lowry and Chandler Parsons, but he also missed one uncontested underhand layup from about three feet out.

Over his last three games, Rondo has shot 41.7% at the rim, a steep drop from his season average (including those games) of 59.4%. In that time, his jumper from 16-23 feet (44%) has been more effective than his layup.

This is absolutely not a warning sign for a long-term issue for Rondo. I already regret the use of bold in that last paragraph. Rondo has been an all-world finisher throughout his career, and he will be again. But lately he seems to consistently be going way too hard off the glass, as he did in that Rockets flub.

After the jump, a few cherry-picked examples from the previous two games.

Those aren’t the only ones, and most of his other rim misses show the same issue: too much force, sometimes much too much. Maybe some arena worker tightened the backboards before the Nets game? Readers, please come forward with any tips on who tightened the backboards. This blog will not rest until the man responsible is fired.

  • noche

    This is a silly article.

    • someguyinsac

      I'll take a story with some levity over one with "did you hear the latest rumor on who they're trading?" any day.

      Thanks Hayes!

      • noche

        Agreed – but, where was the article with videos of all of Pierce's missed shots last month? Rondo misses several tough layups and then bobbles a dribble and it's "Quick! Put the microscope on it!" If this continues for a month we have issues. Otherwise this is just a stretch of Rondo not having a light enough touch. Everyone has their TA moments.

  • Matt

    Who cares if he missed it. Things don't go your way sometimes… i was more upset Paul Pierce threw the ball down the length of the court. There were 17 seconds left hold it and take your chances at the line. Rondo's shooting is going to get better and better. He will have double doubles practically every night sooner or later.

  • New English

    Last night’s shoulda been game winning lay up seemed to slip outta his hands as he was going up with it, and I think Goreman even pointed that out in the broadcast. While it was certainly the wrong time for that to happen, it’s one of those things that does happen occasionally. The timing of it made it seem worse than anything else, and I think losing a grip on the ball is much more forgivable than just boning an easy basket ala Big Baby’s blown soft-dunk last year. That said, Rondo did miss a couple of easy shots vs the Knicks. Either way, don’t trade him.

  • bro

    i know who tightened the boards. meet me at the corner of 5th and Pontiac with 10,000 kola nuts for the truth

  • Batman

    hes laying it up too hard

  • IBleedGreen

    Rondo's missed layup last night has to rank up there with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85cZB9O_LkE

    and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwRa2j2s6ao&fe

  • lucidsportsfan

    That miss from last night is unrelated to all the rest, he never had control of the ball as he went up to shoot, it just slipped out of his hands. Luckily the C's still had enough left to pull it out in OT! I like their chances tonight too http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2012_03_04_archive….