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In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a game in which Rajon Rondo scored 44 points, there was a foul in the dying minutes that was not called. Ray Allen took issue with the foul during the postgame conference while Rondo shied away from discussing it in fear of being cited for a fine for criticizing league officials.
It was a sour loss, especially for Rondo.
The ECF left a bad taste in Rondo’s mouth whether he says so or not. He’s not the type of player to stomach defeat well, especially at the hands of the Celtics’ most prominent rivals in the Eastern Conference.
Rondo took the series’ loss personally, as he should. As the floor leader of Boston’s offense, it’s up to him to control the pace of the game and unfortunately that comes with heightened praise for a victory and growing responsibility for a loss.
Rondo has a role unlike that of Paul Pierce’s role with the organization. While Pierce is still the perceived head honcho, Rondo is the Celtics’ court general, and as he’s matured with the Celtics, he’s learned how vital he is to their success.
It’s his first chance to face the fire-breathing dragon and strike before any other franchise can.
Why wouldn’t he thrive on that type of stage?