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"IN RONDO WE TRUST"

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The Greatest Duo That Never Was

Posted by shawn cassidy on September 23, 2013 at 5:15 AM




Words and music. You can have one without the other, but sometimes having them both together makes for better music. The setting sun sinks in the sea while the water gently brushes my feet on the shore. These are the moments in which I get clarity. I also think of regrets, or miss opportunities, and great times in my life. On this trip It felt like a random shock though my brain. I thought about Rondo's greatest moments. One era that was short lived was Shaq and Rondo.


This brings me back to words and music. You can have one without the other, and you can make great music without lyrics. Miles Davis, Mozart, and Ravi Shankar to name a few. But sometimes having both makes something more personal. Rondo had his lyrics, and now he's Miles Davis with a basketball. He could've had his connection like Lennon and McCartney, or Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. He's left without lyrics.


Shaq brought out the best in Rondo, or Rondo brought out the best in Shaq at the young age of 39 at the time. Rondo had rejuvenated Shaq's career. While Shaq was apart of Rondo's record breaking start in 2010-11.


ESPN BOSTON

It's been 16 years since a Celtics player (Sherman Douglas) went off for at least 17 points, 15 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in a game as Rajon Rondo did on Wednesday in Boston's overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Yet, that performance was primarily relegated to the closing paragraphs of game recaps and highlight afterthoughts. In this case, its placement can be explained by Paul Pierce's 20,000th point rightfully taking center stage. Yet, it underscores the ridiculously high precedent that Rondo has set for himself. He is spoiling us all. After all, that box score-filling performance was his least impressive in the past week.

Last Friday against the Knicks, Rondo turned in one of the most remarkable triple-doubles in NBA history. His 24 assists tied Isiah Thomas' 1985 record for most in a triple-double (though Thomas needed two overtimes to pull off his total). Rondo's 24 assists were also the second most in Boston Celtics history. It was more than 50 years ago that Bob Cousy handed out 28 against the Minneapolis Lakers in 1959. Since then, Tiny Archibald's 23 assists in 1982 came closest.


Rondo followed up that gem with another statistical marvel on Tuesday. His brilliance against the Knicks was slightly marred by seven turnovers. As if trying to negate that, Rondo had 17 assists and zero turnovers against Detroit. It marked the most assists without a turnover since Steve Nash had 18 in 2007. The last Celtics player to even approach that total was Antoine Walker, who had 14 assists without a turnover in 2002.

Together Rondo's first five games are almost hard to comprehend. He's averaging 16.4 assists per game, more than the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Oklahoma City Thunder averaged as a team entering Thursday. In the second half alone, Rondo's averaging 9.2 apg. That would rank behind the full-game averages of three players: Jason Kidd, John Wall and Deron Williams. If Rondo only played the third quarter, his 5.2 apg would still lead six teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers.

The result is an early assault on John Stockton's place in the record books.

Through five games, Rondo's 82 assists broke the record set by Magic Johnson in 1988-89 and matched by Stockton a year later. Rondo had previously tied Stockton's record for assists through three games and exceeded the mark through four.

Most Assists Through 5 Games -- NBA History

Player, team Assists Season
Rajon Rondo, BOS 82 2010-11
John Stockton, UTAH 81 1989-90
Magic Johnson, LAL 81 1988-89
John Stockton, UTAH 76 1991-92
Magic Johnson, LAL 75 1990-91
>>Source: Elias Sports Bureau



Rondo's remarkable stretch came after Rondo nearly brought home banner 18 for the Celtics during the miracle run in 2010. His 2010 playoff run, and the start of the 2010-11 season could be Rondo's greatest stretch of basketball. Although the 2012 playoffs rank high on the list. Rondo was the best player in the game during the early part of 2010-11. Injuries kicked in for him, and for Shaq. It felt like they sat down and wrote some great songs, but they were unable to finish the entire album. It's a shame that Rondo had Shaq so late in his career. What if we got a healthier Shaq, like some of his last years in Phoenix.We may have won another banner. All of the point guards on the list above had great bigs to pass to. Magic had Kareem, and Stockton had Malone.


If Rondo had Shaq in his prime, and if Shaq had Rondo in his prime (which he's in now of course and has been) that duo may have gone down as one of the best ever. Shaq's had two great teammates in Penny and Kobe. But Rondo may have made Shaq that more dominant. Rondo is the greatest passer in the game today, and maybe since Stockton. He would have found Shaq at alarming rates, and Rondo could very well be breathing down Stockton's neck for all-time assists right now if it happened. 


The Rondo and Shaq connection was like a warm day in the dead of winter. It's short lived, but pleasant. I find myself lost in a dream world, that will never come true, I’ll always be wishing for something similar that was Rondo and Shaq. Rondo needs someone, but the verdict isn't out on who that player is. The great duo that never was will be just that.

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10 Comments

Reply paul
7:14 AM on September 23, 2013 
That season was so heartbreaking. Shaq and Rondo were so magical together, until the injuries set in. Shaq has been singing Rondo's praises ever since. Then the Perkins trade happened. Now the franchise almost seems to be touting Green as the future?
Reply Greg
11:20 AM on September 23, 2013 
Green is apart of the future, and if you thin he is the future,then the Celtics are doomed. that was a magical time in Rondos career.
Reply Celticslifer
4:20 PM on September 23, 2013 
Some of the best moments for me watching the Celtics for the past 20 odd years.
Reply paul
5:16 PM on September 23, 2013 
Find Rondo a new Shaq!
Reply Birdman33
12:13 AM on September 24, 2013 
paul says...
Find Rondo a new Shaq!

Ainge's task should be finding a big who Rondo can connect with in the post. Even if it's pick-and-roll play. Maybe Olynyk can be that player. Maybe someone else.
Reply rcraig617
2:59 AM on September 24, 2013 
This is why I believed we should;ve did that perkins trade. If shaq was at full strength him and rondo were a force to be reckoned with and shaq would clog the lane defensively and take care of our defensive rebounding problem.
Reply Franklin
3:06 AM on September 24, 2013 
first of all welcome back rcraig. I agree with u, but it was a big gamble by Ainge that didn't work. If he traded Perk with SHaq still active. Then I get it,but shaq was hurt when the deal was made.. IVE always been pretty torn.
Reply paul
4:17 AM on September 24, 2013 
rcraig617 says...
This is why I believed we should;ve did that perkins trade. If shaq was at full strength him and rondo were a force to be reckoned with and shaq would clog the lane defensively and take care of our defensive rebounding problem.


Please, rc. If Shaq was healthy, he'd have started over Perkins. No doubt. But he wasn't, and it was quite clear that he would not be back , or that if he came back he would surely not be the same. Danny was hyping Shaq's return and it was truly, truly disgraceful.
Reply paul
4:20 AM on September 24, 2013 
Franklin says...
first of all welcome back rcraig. I agree with u, but it was a big gamble by Ainge that didn't work. If he traded Perk with SHaq still active. Then I get it,but shaq was hurt when the deal was made.. IVE always been pretty torn.


I think too many people believed the hype about Shaq's return. At that point in his career, Shaq was walking wounded in the best of times. Had we kept Perkins, then maybe O'Neal and Shaq could have backed him up. Even limping around Shaq might be able to be a helluva third string 5. Perkins' importance was crazily underestimated by the fandom, led by the bloggers, led by the journo-stooges, all strings pulled by Duplicitous Danny.
Reply paul
4:22 AM on September 24, 2013 
Birdman33 says...
Ainge's task should be finding a big who Rondo can connect with in the post. Even if it's pick-and-roll play. Maybe Olynyk can be that player. Maybe someone else.



I'm hoping that Olynyk, Sully, Humphries, Wallace, Green, Bradley, etc., can all be enthusiastic finishers for Rondo. But we still gotta keep looking for a real center with a nose for the rim!!