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Blue Rondo a la turk

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  May 10, 2010 02:59 PM

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(No, it doesn't make any sense, but this is my blog, and I've been wanting to use it since the day they drafted him.)

It's the 18 rebounds that is the stunning part. It's the 18 rebounds that -- for me, anyway -- puts Rajon Rondo past Deron Williams and Steve Nash, and puts him right on Chris Paul's heels as the best point guard in the NBA. Right now. Today. It's the 18 rebounds that marks him different from all the rest of them. They can all shoot better than he can and they can all pass just as well, although none of them have posterized Lebron James the way that Rondo did yesterday, selling a layup until the last possible moment and then slipping the ball behind his back to get Tony Allen a dunk. That's a defining play, but it's the 18 rebounds that make him special.

Rebounding is heart and desire and all those things, but it is also a talent, a gift for knowing the inherent geometry of basketball. At its best, rebounding can make a player seem clairvoyant, the way that passing used to make Larry Bird seem clairvoyant. A gifted rebounder -- especially one Rondo's size, of whom there have been very few -- is always a surprise. How'd he get there? How'd he know?

But it's also heart and desire and all those things, too. It's a statement of basketball purpose, a way to validate yourself among your teammates and your peers around the league, the way the willingness to play special teams in football is, or an enthusiasm for penalty-killing in the NHL. If you're willing to rebound, you're willing to sacrifice yourself.  At this moment, with the series dead-level at two games apiece, and even closer emotionally, I'd like to take a moment to thank Danny Ainge for not screwing this one up.


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