The night began with the NBA paying homage to LeBron James' historic achievement of winning a second consecutive league MVP award.
When the night closed out, it was time to pay homage to a historic performance by Rajon Rondo.
Rajon Rondo took over Game 2, getting to the rim and dealing out a career playoff high 19 assists.
BOSTON -- There is a long and storied history of great players, statistics and records within the Celtics organization, and Rondo is quickly etching his name into numerous spots along those lists. He did his job in the regular season by notching single-season franchise highs in assists (794) and steals (189), passing Hall of Famer Bob Cousy and Rick Fox, respectively, in those categories.
Tonight, he put his name next to Cousy's yet again by dishing out a ridiculous 19 assists against the Cavs in Game 2, which equals Cousy's franchise record for assists in a single playoff game.
To Rondo, there is one area where he knows no one in this series can match him: speed and quickness. Those irreplaceable traits allow him to constantly put pressure on the opponent's defense, and that's exactly what he did tonight, most notably in the open court.
"I just try to take advantage of the opportunities in front of me, whether it's Mo (Williams), whether it's Anthony Parker, Delonte (West) or LeBron (James)," Rondo said, sounding as if he knows that quartet of defenders is incapable of stopping him. "In transition, that's where I think I have my advantage -- (when) we're getting rebounds, (when) we're getting stops -- and that's where I'm able to use my speed and able to use my ability to get to the hole and create mismatches in the lane."
"Create" is a word associated with every great point guard -- they are great because they are masterful in creating easy opportunities for their teammates to score. Rondo was creating so well tonight that he forced statistical researchers to dig up the all-time playoff record for assists in a playoff game, because they thought he was going to break it. He entered the fourth quarter just five assists shy of that record, which is 24, but he was unable to notch any dimes in the final stanza.
Although Rondo's creativity was minimal over the final 12 minutes of the game, his coach's creativity certainly wasn't lacking while describing his point guard's historic performance.
"He just had a great floor game -- that's his second one in the playoffs that I would say, you know, I call him Varitek," said Doc Rivers, alluding to the Red Sox's longtime catcher and captain, Jason Varitek. "I just thought he called great balls and strikes, if you want to put it that way."
Rondo wasn't exactly painting corners tonight with fastballs, but he was carving up the Cavaliers like a 9-year-old does pumpkins in October.
One factor that is breeding this success, as both Rondo and Rivers noted after the game, is a bond that is growing between the former NBA floor general (Rivers) and his current disciple (Rondo).
"Doc and I have been in the same system for four years now," said Rondo. "I'm starting to know exactly what he wants me to call at certain times in the game, and we just have a great relationship right now where we know exactly what we want to call.
"And, you know, going down the stretch knowing how to close games out, who our close-out guys are, and just getting easy looks and taking care of the ball."
Getting 19 of those easy looks, to be exact, one of which stood above the rest in Rivers' mind.
"The three for Ray was his call," said Rivers, who was quite possibly speaking about the 3-pointer Allen drilled to open Boston's lead up to 21 on Rondo's final assist of the game. "We were searching for a call. Rondo motioned to me the call, (and) I said, '(If) that's what you feel.' And it got Ray a great shot. He felt the game through the coach, and when you get that with a point guard, there's just no better feeling."
It sounds as if Boston's All-Star point guard is giving his coach butterflies. At the same time, it sounds as if he's giving the opposing coach ulcers.
"I'm concerned," was Cavaliers coach Mike Brown's concise, yet fiery sentiment on Cleveland's inability to stop the Celtics' offense, which was operated by Rondo for 45 of the game's 48 minutes.
Well, heck, who wouldn't be concerned when your team has the two-time reigning MVP on its roster, but the most unstoppable force of the series is wearing the other team's jersey?
That's quite a conundrum for the Cavaliers, who have allowed Rondo to lead his team to a split on the road that sends Boston back east with home court advantage on its side.
Rondo will continue to credit his teammates, because without their made shots, he wouldn't be racking up assists like a madman, but the truth of the matter is that he is the one making this happen.
So tonight the homage is paid to him, the lanky point guard who outshined the world's greatest player on his own court, during what was supposed to be his night.
There is one other night which many have anointed as James' this season -- the one where the Larry O'Brien trophy is handed out to the NBA champions. If Rondo keeps up this two-game trend, he might be crashing that party, too.