BOSTON -- Before the start of Game 3, Doc Rivers was asked if he thought Rajon Rondo would be affected by his one-game suspension served on Tuesday night.
He shouldnt be, but who knows, Rivers said. You never know how that goes. You really dont. You dont know if hes going to try to do too much or do too little. A lot of guys, when they come back, they dont want to get in the way. And we want him to get in the way. We want him to have the ball and be aggressive.
Fortunately for the Celtics, there are two halves of basketball.
Its just a matter of timing, Rondo said following the Celtics 90-84 overtime win. A lot of turnovers in the first half. I missed a couple of shots, but my teammates believed in me, told me to keep going. And thats what I tried to do for my team, was hang in there. And we found a way to get the win.
Rondo came out looking, well, not like Rondo in the first quarter. He shot 0-for-3 (two points off free throws), dished two assists, grabbed a rebound, and committed two turnovers in 10 minutes.
He did not attempt a single shot in 9:29 second quarter minutes, dishing three assists but committing three turnovers and drawing a foul.
For a point guard, they get mixed up sometimes, executing, running the stuff, said Rivers. Sometimes for them it means not being aggressive. And its funny, we had an exchange in the third or fourth quarter. I said, Hey, youve got to be aggressive. And he said, Well, I thought you wanted me to run the stuff, I said, Yeah, and be aggressive. You have to do both at the same time. Then finally I just told him, Be a scorer. Just attack. And I thought that freed him up a little bit.
Rondo listened. He became more aggressive offensively out of halftime, attempting seven field goals and making two. He began picking up the pace on what he does best -- dishing the ball (three assists) and sneaking in for rebounds (four boards).
With the Celtics up 60-58 after three quarters, Rondo turned it on in the fourth. Just over three minutes into the quarter, Rondo drove the lane, pulled off a spin move at the basket on Jannero Pargo, then dished the ball to Paul Pierce to put the Celtics up, 70-64. On the next possession, Pierce picked off Tracy McGrady and passed it off to Rondo, who finished it off with a reverse layup to build the Celtics lead to eight. Before regulation had ended, Rondo had recorded his seventh career postseason triple-double.
Rondo added another five points and two rebounds in overtime, bringing his game total to 17 points (7-22 FG), 14 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals, and six turnovers.
It started with defense, he said. In the second half, we got stops and allowed myself and my team to run on the fastbreak. The floor opened up, guys were trailing in for jump shots, I was able to attack the paint, KG was sealing it. It was a matter of a good flow, but like I said it started with defense and getting stops.
The night started off one way for Rondo and finished another. The end result was the difference in two halves of basketball and five extra minutes of overtime.
Theres going to be nights like tonight where I miss a lot of shots, said Rondo. But I try to continue to fight through it, continue to grind, and get the win for my team.