Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has often taken the backseat in years past to Boston’s star trio. But that was then and this is now. Rondo has emerged as a superstar in his own right this season, and his 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists paved the way for Boston’s 97-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday, May 9 to even the series, 2-2, after an embarrassing home loss in Game 3.

When Rondo wasn’t attacking the rim fearlessly, he was either making spectacular passes or coming up with timely steals and rebounds. The Celtics weathered an off night from LeBron James, who struggled, making 7-for-18 shots. James missed all five of his three-point attempts and turned the ball over seven times, finishing with 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

After leading, 74-72, at the start of the fourth quarter, Boston scored the first 10 points to open up a 12-point lead midway through the final period. Cleveland closed the lead to 86-84 with just less than five minutes remaining, but failed to make another basket for the rest of the game as the Celtics held on for the win.

The Cavaliers will need a better game plan towards stopping Rondo if they want to advance. The Celtics point guard is averaging 21.8 points, 13 assists and 8.3 rebounds through the series’ first four games and has repeatedly abused Cleveland’s guards. James hinted in the post game press conference that he would like to put his bid in to earn the honor of personally defending Rondo throughout the remainder of the series. “I would love to,” James answered when asked about possibly guarding Rondo in Game 5. “It’s something that we maybe should explore because Rondo is definitely dominating this series at the point guard position. If the coaching staff or the guys want me to do it, I will.”

Game 5 of the Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers series will air Tuesday night, May 11, on TNT.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO