The NBA playoffs are times when basketball players showcase some incredible, and sometimes surprising, things. Boston Celtics' guard Rajon Rondo turned in another one of those performances on Saturday night. Rondo may have had a historic stat line, but the legendary play really started with 4:16 left in Game 7 when Paul Pierce fouled out.
For the Philadelphia 76ers, Pierce's charge on Thaddeus Young seemed like a game-changing play. In the second half, Pierce hit a number of clutch jump shots while draped by Andre Iguodala or Evan Turner. The Sixers' swingmen played outstanding defense; but the Celtic captain had more incredible offense for them.
Paul Pierce was killing the Sixers.
When Iguodala drew Pierce's fifth foul with 5:16 remaining, I thought Philadelphia would immediately get Iggy the ball the very next possession. I thought 'Dre would attack Boston's forward and force him to commit his last foul, or play softer defense.
Surprisingly, Iguodala got the ball but did not go at Pierce. Instead, he hit a huge three-pointer. Can't complain too much with that.
But then I was shocked when Pierce barreled into Young and fouled out. The momentum was clearly on Philly's side.
Quiet for most of the game, Rajon Rondo turned it up to a level I had never seen him take his game before.
Rondo went on a personal 9-0 run after that play; scoring on a layup, toe-on-the-line two-pointer, 27-foot three-pointer and two free-throws.
Is Rajon Rondo the best point guard in the NBA?
The rest of his fourth quarter included two more free-throws with 53 seconds remaining, and his 10th rebound to give him a triple-double.
Rondo's complete stats in that roughly four-minute stretch: 3-for-3 from the field, 4-for-4 from the line and 1-for-1 from three for 11 points. He also grabbed three rebounds.
To put this into perspective, Rondo is shooting 61.9 percent from the line in the 2012 postseason and in his career overall. He shot 44.8 percent from the field in this shortened regular season, and his career three-point success rate is 24.1 percent.
Yet he did not miss when Pierce fouled out. I can't even remember if he ever hit rim.
Boston, and NBA fans in general, would expect something like that out of Paul Pierce (Mr. Clutch) after all he's done for the C's over the years.
People may look at the stat sheet and see Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double with his 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
His ninth NBA playoff triple-double tied him with Wilt Chamberlain for fourth all-time; behind only Larry Bird, Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson. He's 26 years-old by the way.
If you weren't able to watch, what did you miss?
Oh, well see, Rajon Rondo was missing layups. He had seven turnovers and just seven points. Then Paul Pierce fouled out with over four minutes left.
Rondo then decided to become Pierce since the Captain wasn't on the court anymore. Yeah, he basically won Game 7 and the series for Boston.
You didn't miss much.