by Micah Hart
There is a lot of chatter out there right now about what the Celtics are gong to do (or not do) with Rajon Rondo before the trade deadline. Some think the Celtics have had it with his attitude and want him gone, while others think he is the one building block for the future Boston can least afford to give up. Some think his variety of skills makes him a nightmare matchup for every team in the NBA, while others think his lack of confidence in his own offensive game makes him a liability in late-game situations.
That last group got a little more ammunition* during Tuesday night’s Celtics-Rockets game. Let’s set the scene:
The Celtics led 84-82 with 22 seconds left when Houston’s Luis Scola missed a mid-range jumper for the tie. There was a bit of a scramble for the rebound, which eventually ricocheted right into the arms of Paul Pierce, who spied Rondo streaking downcourt all by his lonesome for the cupcake layup that might put the game out of reach. Or not:
Goran Dragic would tie the game with a basket on the other end for the Rockets, but Boston would go on to prevail in overtime 97-92 for the team’s fifth straight win, thus making Rondo’s flub a funny side note rather than a Greek tragedy.
With the win the Celtics moved within a game of Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division lead. Maybe the Celtics will be buyers, not sellers, after all?
* Just so we are clear, I am kidding when I say that this play would make anyone question Rondo’s late-game talents. You may question them all you like, but one missed layup where Rondo clearly loses control of the ball is not the same as refusing to shoot with the game on the line.