Magic 71, Celtics 94
The number of plays Rajon Rondo has made in his career that could be called "The Rondo Play" are countless. During this postseason alone there has to be at least five.
There is one, however, that stands above the rest, and it happened tonight, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
With less than nine minutes remaining in the second quarter, J.J. Redick's pass was tipped away by Tony Allen and the ball trickled down the middle of the court toward Boston's basket. Jason Williams was the player closest to the ball, and he ran after it with a solid cushion on Rondo, who was trailing behind him.
That was when determination, heart and grit simply took over, and the rest is history.
Rondo put it into overdrive and sprinted two-thirds of the court while Williams dogged it ahead of him and dove head first near the foul line as if he was sliding into home plate for a game-winning run in the World Series. As he slid a few feet, he somehow managed to stick his right arm through Williams' legs, stop the ball from rolling and bouncing and farther and then wrapped his left arm around Williams' left leg to corral the ball.
After he miraculously gained control of the ball, Rondo got up and made a move to the basket that made it look as if he was just finishing a normal fast break at full speed. He dribbled to his right and threw a beautiful floater off of the glass over a stunned Williams and it was at that point that the entire Garden crowd -- and all of his teammates -- realized that they had just witnessed an all-time great play.
But instead of us telling you how great the play was, we'll let the players and coaches fill you in.
Stan Van Gundy: "I thought they worked harder than we did. I thought they out-competed us. And I think that play was just -- one of the plays you could point to was indicative of what was going on."
Doc Rivers: "I didn't think he could get to it. It was him and Jason Williams. He's thinking, 'I got a chance with my speed.' But it was just an unbelievable play I don't think Jason Williams thought he could get to it, honestly. That's probably why he got it. I don't know how he got it. It was a great play."
Kevin Garnett: "My reaction was just like everybody's else's - pure grit, pure hustle play. I told him after the game when he was in the back, I told him that was probably the play of the playoffs to me. That was just pure hustle. Pure hustle, pure basketball, pure I-want-it-more-than-you type of play. And I thought it was a foul, too. But that's just me."
Ray Allen: "It was probably one of the toughest plays defensively I've seen in my career. Its one thing to have the ball and make something miraculous happen, but not having the ball and making some miraculous happen, then score with it, that was awesome."
Last but not least, who better to tell you about the play than Rondo himself? Here was his take on it during his postgame press conference: "I just wanted it. I just wanted to make a play on the ball. I think he had the angle on me and I decided to dive for the ball, and it just so happened I came up with it, and made the play and scored the ball... Like Kevin said, I just wanted it."
Key Box Score Line
Glen Davis played spectacular tonight, scoring a game-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. He also grabbed six rebounds and put enough pressure on the Magic to get to the line for nine free throw attempts, seven of which he made.
That type of performance has been customary for Davis when he plays the role of Ticket Stub if Kevin Garnett is forced to miss a game, but tonight he delivered that stat line in a reserve role, which makes it all the more impressive.
His hustle and energy sparked the Celtics all night long. Davis' 17 points in Game 3 are more than Orlando's former All-Star power forward, Rashard Lewis -- whom Davis has often defended -- has scored in the entire series (15).
Box Score Nuggets
- Glen Davis scored more points tonight (17) than Rashard Lewis has scored in the entire series (15).
- Orlando scored 12 points in the first quarter and 13 in the third.
- The Magic shot 36.9 percent in the game, including 8-of-30 from downtown.
- Dwight Howard finished with only seven points and seven rebounds in just less than 40 minutes of playing time.
- Six Celtics scored in double-figures, led by Davis' 17 points.
- The Celtics outrebounded the Magic 43-36.
- Four Celtics starters grabbed at least six rebounds (three actually grabbed six), with Paul Pierce leading the way with nine boards.
- Orlando was forced into 17 turnovers, while the C's coughed it up only nine times.
- The Celtics assisted on 23 of their 34 made field goals.
- Rajon Rondo dished out 12 assists -- Orlando recorded only 10 assists as a team.
- Ray Allen dished out six assists as well.
- Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson tied for the team-high with 15 points apiece for Orlando.
- The Celtics took 28 free throws (making 20) while the Magic took only 18.
- Boston shot 6-of-11 from downtown.
- No Celtics reserve recorded an assist.
- Three Orlando starters scored seven points or less.
- Boston's bench scored 38 total points.
- The Celtics did not trail in the game, leading by as many as 32 at one point in the second half.
- Orlando scored only two second-chance points.
Quote of the Night
Kevin Garnett on Rajon Rondo: "I said this about Shorty (Rajon Rondo), man, he's in a zone. He's just showing the world what he's made of. The future is scary."