Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo Providing Only Drama in NBA Semifinals

Steve SmithSenior Writer IMay 12, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 03:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics looks on while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 104-86 to tie the series 1-1. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Drama has been relatively absent in three of the four semifinal matchups in the NBA this postseason.


The Phoenix Suns dispatched the San Antonio Spurs in four straight games, seemingly with as much effort as it took Mike Tyson to lay out Trevor Berbick in the second round of their November 22, 1986 fight that garnered him the WBC championship belt—his first.


The Orlando Magic had an even easier time ousting the young Atlanta Hawks, who were thought to have an outside shot at winning the series, blowing them out in all four games by an average of 26 points to send Josh Smith and Joe Johnson home early.


The Utah Jazz almost looked like they were about to challenge the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three, before falling to the dagger Derek Fisher threw at his former team, effectively ending their dreams of a comeback in the series and leading to the third series sweep of this second round.


The Boston Celtics-Cleveland Cavaliers series has been completely different. Drama isn’t even the word for this series—more like melodrama.


The Cleveland Cavaliers were supposed to be the invincible Beast of the East this year. Not even the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers boasted a record as gaudy as the Cavs, who entered these playoffs after having dominated the regular season in route to winning 61 games.


The Boston Celtics, though having easily dealt with the Miami Heat, were felt by most to be far too old to challenge the behemoth that was Cleveland. The Cavs had added both Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison to a squad that had dominated the NBA the prior year before falling to the Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic in the Conference Finals.


At the very least, most so-called “experts” pictured this series going six games. And frankly, they might actually have called that one correctly. Only thing is, they were calling the series for Cleveland.


Boston came into the postseason after having played .500 ball the latter half of the regular season. Yet, they were finally healthy, and as the series win against Miami seemingly pointed out, they were more a team similar to the team that won Boston its 17th title two years ago than it was the team who limped into and out of the playoffs last year and struggled due to injuries late in this years’ regular season.


Perhaps those “experts” should have seen this one coming.


However, one thing most hadn’t seen coming, including Boston fans and commentators, was the complete emergence of Rajon Rondo into a superstar. There is no longer a doubt as to who is the leader of the Celtics; it’s Rondo.


While he plays alongside living legends (three players who will almost certainly be first-ballot NBA Hall-of-Famers), Rondo is without a doubt the best player on Boston’s squad. His Game Four performance solidified that fact in everyone’s mind.


Sure, he’s young and relatively inexperienced when compared to players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, but he’s also talented. That talent shined brightly in Game Four as he poured in 29 points, snatched 18 rebounds, and dished out 13 assists. Such a game hadn’t been played by a Boston player in the postseason since Bill Russell was roaming the parquet.


And that’s precisely where the drama in this series begins—with Rondo.


To put it bluntly, the Cleveland Cavaliers simply don’t have an answer for him. They tried their best to contain him in yesterday’s Game Five and did an effective job of it in the first half, keeping him scoreless. Only problem? His teammates were able to pick up the slack because of all the attention he was garnering from Cleveland defenders.


When the Cavs tried to compensate, Rondo did to them what he’s done the whole series—scorched them. While not scoring a point in the first half, Rajon tore Cleveland’s defense up for 16 points in the second half, as Boston ran away with the game to take a 3-2 series lead heading back to Boston after a 120-88 victory.


Cleveland’s LeBron James stated after the game he’s not worried. If that’s true, then he’s a fool.


For only a fool would not be worried about being down three games to two in a seven game series against this Boston Celtics team, especially when the next game is on their home court.


I think it’s well-known that I’m hoping Boston closes Cleveland out. This is because I believe if LeBron doesn’t win a title this year, he’s bolting the Cavs. The one spot I believe he’ll land is my beloved Miami Heat alongside Dwyane Wade as you can read about here .


Regardless of that, if Cleveland fans have any hope, it rests solely in James’ own desire to prove he’s a champion. If he can somehow rebound from the worst home-playoff loss in the Cavs history to win on Boston’s home court and force a Game Seven, there might just be hope he’ll stay in Cleveland. If he is sent home, though, he may just be finding a new one soon.


Oh, and of course the Cavs will have to find a way to contain Rajon Rondo, or he'll be providing them with a whole lot more "melodrama."


Game on!