Will LeBron James Shut Down Rajon Rondo?

Ryan McDonnellContributor IMay 10, 2010

MIAMI - APRIL 25:  Guard Rjon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics shoots against the Miami Heat  in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 25, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Celtics 101-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Rajon Rondo's Game Four performance was an instant classic that will not soon be forgotten. 

Rondo finished with 29 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists.  Anyone who watched SportsCenter after the game now knows that only two other players in the history of the NBA Playoffs put up those kind of numbers. 

One is Oscar Robertson and the other is Wilt Chamberlain.

Following the Celtics' victory on Sunday evening, LeBron James had this to say about covering Rondo in the next game, "Rondo is definitely dominating the series at the point guard position. For me, I don't have a problem with taking Rondo or guarding him throughout the course of the game. If the coaching staff or the guys want me to do that, I will."

What would be the outcome of matching James with Rondo defensively? 

James' athleticism is spectacular and he would have 85 pounds and roughly eight inches over Rondo.  Would James shut Rondo down though? 

Not a chance. 

It's a possibility that James would help contain Rondo to a certain extent, but Rondo would still continue to get things done and would not be shutdown by any means. 

James has incredible quickness, but so do most of the NBA point guards that Rondo is able to blow by on a regular basis.  Rondo would be able to get past James off the dribble to get to the basket. 

James could catch up to him from behind to block his shots, but Rondo could still adjust and make passes for easy buckets as other defenders collapsed on him. 

Plus, James might find himself in foul trouble while trying to lock up Rondo which would obviously not bode well for Cleveland.  Still, James is a tenacious defender, and with his considerable size advantage, Rondo would be unlikely to have another monster game like the one he had in Game Four.

James might slow Rondo down, but he would still be a major factor in the game.  The key for the Celtics would be for Paul Pierce to make the most of being free from James, and take over the game on the offensive end.  

Pierce has been quiet for most of this series, and Celtics announcer, Mike Gorman, stated that he might have the flu or that there might be some kind of an injury standing in his way.  But Pierce is a great player, and great players find a way to deliver in the face of great adversity. 

Pierce will not remain quiet for long.

Rondo has been a marked man throughout this whole series, and the Cavaliers have dealt him some bone-crushing hard fouls.  As the series shifts back to Cleveland for Game Five, the Cavaliers are probably going to hit him even harder whether James covers him or not.

Neither team has won two straight games in this series nor have the Celtics led in the series either.  Boston can change both of those things by winning Game Five in Cleveland .

James responded to Cleveland 's Game Two defeat by going out and putting up 28 points in the first half of the next game as the Cavaliers destroyed the Celtics by 29 points.

This series is much bigger than just two players, but as the Cavaliers search for answers for Rondo, Boston must find answers for James’ unrelenting attack following his team’s defeat.