Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 111, Heat 115
Celtics 111, Heat 115
Rajon Rondo was the best basketball player on the floor Wednesday night in AmericanAirlines Arena.
It wasn’t LeBron James. It wasn’t Dwyane Wade.
It was unequivocally Rajon Rondo.
But when push came to shove, it wasn’t Rondo who received kind treatment in the overtime session of an epic Game 2. Nope. It was still Wade.
Rondo, who already had 38 points to his credit on the night, drove to the basket with 1:35 remaining in overtime while the score was all tied up at 105-105. He drove directly to the rim and attempted a left-handed as he moved slightly to the left through the air. In the midst of that shot attempt, which rolled off of the rim, Wade hacked down on Rondo’s face.
No foul. Play ball.
Chalk one no-call up for Wade.
Udonis Haslem pulled in the rebound off of Rondo’s miss and, after passing the ball off in transition, he received a pass back and slammed home a dunk to give Miami a two-point lead. It took just seven seconds for all of that to happen, but the momentum that swung during that short sequence was immeasurable.
The momentum continued to swing about 30 seconds later when Wade drove to the basket in the waning seconds of the shot clock. Wade made one of his patented zig-zag drives through the lane and rose up for a layup a few feet from the basket. He kicked his leg out while hanging in the air, clearly pushing Kevin Garnett backward, but Garnett simultaneously made contact with Wade’s arm as he attempted the shot.
Chalk another call up for Wade.
Somehow, despite making contact with Garnett with two extremities, Wade got the shot to fall while drawing the foul from KG. He went on to nail the free throw to give Miami a five-point lead with just 59.7 seconds remaining in overtime.
All it took was one whistle not being blown at one end of the court and another whistle being blown at the other end to turn a tie ballgame into a five-point game in 35 seconds.
“That was a big swing for us,” Rondo said after the game. “I thought we had the momentum.”
There was no bouncing back from that momentum swing. The Celtics wound up falling 115-111, and you can bet your britches that the no-call on Wade followed by the yes-call for Wade will be a hot topic on sports radio all day on Thursday.
Key Box Score Line
Herculean. Unbelievable. Unstoppable. Incredible. Dominating.
You can think of all of the positive adjectives in the world to describe Rajon Rondo’s performance during Game 2, and all of them would be accurate.
Doc Rivers implored his players before the game to leave it all on the floor Wednesday night. Although the team may have lost Game 2, its point guard can fly back to Boston knowing that he obliged his coach’s request.
Rondo didn’t just play most of Game 2, which went to overtime. He played all of it. Every second. That’s 53 minutes of basketball, and not just any basketball, playoff basketball. That feat is incredible on its own, and that’s before we delve into the numbers he delivered.
As we said in the Key Moment piece above, Rondo was the greatest basketball player on the court Wednesday night. His career-high 44 points on 16-of-24 shooting cement that fact. Rondo hit mid-range jumpers, contested layups in the paint, long-range 3s and everything in between. He also was phenomenal from the free-throw line, where he hit 10 of his 12 attempts.
But he didn’t stop there. Rondo approached a triple-double by grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out a game-high 10 assists. He also grabbed a game-high three steals and, despite playing the entire game, committed just three turnovers.
Box Score Nuggets
- Both teams shot at least 44.6 percent from the field, with Boston leading the way by shooting 49.4 percent.
- Both teams grabbed 42 rebounds, but Miami's 13 offensive boards may have been the difference in the game.
- Rajon Rondo scored a career-high 44 points while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out 10 assists.
- LeBron James scored 34 points to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists.
- Dwyane Wade scored 23 points and Mario Chalmers scored 22.
- Paul Pierce scored 21 points for the Celtics.
- Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 10 rebounds, tying James for the game high.
- The Celtics scored 111 points but accumulated just 15 total assists.
- Miami shot just 31-of-47 from the free-throw line, while Boston shot 26-for-29.
- Pierce, Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling all fouled out for the C's.
- The Celtics were whistled for 33 fouls compared to just 18 for Miami.
- Rondo played all 53 minutes of the game.
- Udonis Haslem, who scored 13 points off the bench, outscored Boston's entire bench by six points.
- James attempted a whopping 24 free throws, making 18.
- Ray Allen had a solid game for Boston, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds.
Quote of the Night
LeBron James' first comment to the media following Game 2: "First of all, Rondo was absolutely amazing. The performance he put on tonight will go down in the record books."