After four games, it’s becoming clear that the Cavaliers have no chance to stop Rajon Rondo–or even begin to contain him.
Rondo rain wild Sunday afternoon in Boston, finishing with 29 points 18 rebounds, and 13 assists to lead the Celtics to a 97-87 win over the Cavs, tying the Eastern Conference semis at two games apiece.
The skinny Rondo got wherever he wanted to go against the Cavs’ defense, most notably Anthony Parker, who looked like his feet were stuck in cement for much of the game.
Surprisingly, Mike Brown made adjustments before Game 2. The Cavs began giving Rondo more space to shoot jumpers and making a concerted effort to go underneath screens on the pick and roll.
It simply isn’t working.
Rondo’s shot as improved enough to make teams pay for going under screens. He has excellent court vision and is learning how to pick his spots to score while continuing to look for open teammates.
His unique game is almost always successful against small opposing guards. His nose for the ball, long arms, and enormous hands help him grab rebounds in traffic against bigger players.
The Cavs must do more to make him feel uncomfortable, whether it means posting him up using Delonte West or attacking him with physical play.
Unless Mo Williams shows up, Rondo likely won’t face much of a challenge against the Cavs. Despite his accolades as one of the best defensive players in the NBA, he isn’t a great 1-on-1 defender, often gambling for steals and getting lost on screens.
Don’t expect Rondo to slow down. If he gets any help from Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Boston will likely send the Cavaliers home early.
Cleveland remains the far superior team, but they have a battle on their hands and will be lucky to escape the Celtics. No Cavs, including LeBron, played very well in Game 4.
Game 5 will be absolutely epic.