Rajon Rondo Carries
Boston To Game 4 Win
By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
Less than 48 hours after the Cavs torched the Celtics in Boston, the Cleveland team that so many people thought was a strong contender to win an NBA championship assembled a performance Sunday that was at times as flat as its embarrassing Game 2 loss.
And just when you thought Rajon Rondo couldn't hurt the Cavs any more than he had in the first three games, the Celtics' point guard played out of his mind in a 97-87 win that tied the Eastern Conference semifinals at 2-2. Game 5 is Tuesday in Cleveland.
Rondo had 29 points, 18 assists and 13 rebounds in 47 minutes Sunday. Here are some other notes:
+ Antawn Jamison is not getting it done. His numbers aren't bad, but he rarely plays with passion. J.J. Hickson is more aggressive and was enjoying a fine second season in Cleveland until the Cavs picked up Jamison at the trading deadline, forcing Hickson to the bench.
+ The Celtics are playing with more heart. Sure the series is tied, 2-2, and it looks like each team will win its next home game to set up a Game 7 in Cleveland next weekend, but Boston is just two years removed from an NBA championship and still has most of that nucleus in tact. The Big 3 certainly are collectively older and slower, but a Game 7 -- even on the road -- scares me because that Boston team is a proud one.
+ I give Danny Ferry credit for trying to put the proper pieces around LeBron James the last couple of years, but this hardly looks like Michael Jordan's first championship team with the Bulls. Jamison is no Scottie Pippen, Mo Williams is inconsistent and Shaq will need to give more than 21 minutes and six rebounds if Cleveland wants to advance.
+ Cavs coach Mike Brown should have given some other guys -- Ilgauskas, Moon, Powe, Gibson -- more minutes in Friday's Game 3 blowout.
+ The problem still in LeBron's game is his sometimes erratic play. Jordan seemed to cherish the basketball more. Even Kobe doesn't throw the ball away as much or take as many bad shots. But James does follow up sub-standard games with excellent ones, so expect some electricity in Cleveland on Tuesday. LBJ followed his three previous lowest-scoring outputs this postseason (24, 19, 24) with 40, 35 and 38, respectively. He scored only 22 today.
And here's what some people were saying on Twitter after the Boston victory:@sportsguy33: "Triple-double for Rondo in 3 quarters. After this 2010 playoffs performance his nickname should be 'The Big One.'"
@SI_PeterKing: "Just home from seeing Rondo the Magnificent beat the Cavs. Careful now. I might have to reconsider my diffidence for the NBA."
@PDcavsinsider: "Terry Pluto and I keep asking Mike Brown how the Cavs could play with such lack of fire and he basically keeps saying 'I don't know.'"
@GESmithJr: "I hope Mo Williams' mother has a bad mother's day."
@MikeAmmo: "It's not an overreaction by Cavs fans when you visibly SEE the lack of effort/focus."
@JamilSmith: "You know how much I love the Cavaliers. But they played today like they had rollover points from Friday's deluge. Frustrating."
@MrTrpleDouble10: "Once paul pierce returns from carbonite hibernation things could get interesting."
@celtsfan33: "All I can say is HOLY COW. What a GREAT GAME by the CELTICS. All Rajon Rondo - all Passion!!"
@Adel_C: "Um...If Rondo had the confidence to launch threes, I don't even want to know how much of a nightmare it'd be for the opposition."
@jalenrose: "(Esp in the playoffs)Celts Rondo has become the most all around productive PG in the NBA! (pts/rebs/assts/defense/wins/title etc)"