Back in 2008, Rajon Rondo was the brain of the Boston Celtics and the player who in charge of the fantastic chemistry on the court. His role in the last title of the Celts is simply immeasurable.
That is why the fans still love him there, and why they had a noisy welcome for him last night.
Rondo too has unconditional love towards his Celts, but not when he plays against them.
“I am very happy that the fans cheer me on during the introduction but other than that I am still a basketball player,” Lakers point guard stated after the game.
With the clock going down, and purple and gold behind the home team by one point, Brandon Ingram took the responsibility to close this game, and he failed to do it.
RAJON RONDO. GAME. 🚨
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 8, 2019
But luckily for all the Lakers’ fans, the ball came to Rondo who sealed the fate of his old team. Though most of the fans believe shooting abilities are not his biggest strength, the veteran doesn’t care about that too much.
“I practice those shots all the time. Couldn’t imagine it being in the Garden though. … This is one I’ll be playing for the rest of my life.” he said after this very exciting game.
He finished the game with 17 points and 10 assists.
The Celtics had the lead throughout most of the game. They started to build it since the middle of the opening period, and ended it in their favor 30-24.
A 10-0 series in the second part of the game propelled the hosts to a game-high 18-point lead, which presented the peak of their dominance in this meeting. From that moment on they were in decline.
Lakers managed to cut the deficit to 66-57 before the break, and to outscore them in the third sequence 42-27. Still, Celtics didn’t want to surrender, so we watched a big fight between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, who were having a contest of their own.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers duo put up one fantastic show, exchanging huge plays on opposite parts of the floor. They also hit several threes one after another, keeping the tension and the pressure present.
Boston was up 124-118 with 1:22 to go, but Caldwell-Pope and LeBron both buried huge threes to event the result. Tatum went to the line and hit both free throws, while Kuzma sunk another shot from the deep, for 127-126 in LA’s favor. Kyrie responded with a close-range jump which in the end wasn’t enough because of Rondo.
Truly the spectators at TD Garden had one hell of a show to see.
Boston’s coach Brad Stevens admitted after the game, that Lakers deserved to win.
“The basketball Gods rewarded the right team,” Stevens told at the press conference. ” I hate to say that. But we had a chance to wrap that game with a rebound.”
LeBron James was tearing Boston’s defense apart. King had a triple-double with 28 points and 12 dimes and boards apiece and stepped up when needed the most. Whether was that by scoring, playing tough defense or assisting, LBJ was harassing the Celts all the time.
— NBA (@NBA) February 8, 2019
“The most impactful thing is that he sprayed the ball all over the place,” Stevens spoke about him.
Kyle Kuzma also executed when he supposed to, and ended the night with 25 points, leaving all the trade talks behind him, and focusing on the game, unlike two days ago in Indianapolis.
On the other side, Jayson Tatum experienced the same, as he too was allegedly a part of a package for Anthony Davis.
“I’m happy to still be on the team,” said Tatum, “I’m glad that it’s over with for now.”
The 20-year old dropped 22 points with 10 boards and 5 assists. Kyrie had a team-high, 24 buckets, but with 6 of 21 from the field. Though, his other stats were excellent – 8 assists, 7 rebounds.
German sophomore, Daniel Theis was superb of the bench contributing with 20 points missing only two of his 11 attempts from the field.
We have seen a lot of threes, 22 by the Lakers and 16 by the hosts.
Up next, Boston plays against the Clippers on Sunday, also at home, while Lakers go to Philly.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write, read, and bet on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a betting tips writer at WagerBop.