Yes, the Big Three are aging, but Rajon Rondo’s play is making that reality irrelevant — at least for the moment.
The Boston Celtics point guard came up with one of the best all-around games in the team’s storied postseason history Sunday, and it came in a must-win situation.
The 24-year-old Rondo became just the third player in NBA playoff history to have at least 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists — his numbers exactly as Boston evened its Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games each by beating the favored Cleveland Cavaliers 97-87.
And the company he joined with his fourth career playoff triple-double is impressive. Oscar Robertson had 32 points, 19 rebounds and 13 assists in 1963, and Wilt Chamberlain had 29 points, 36 rebounds and 13 assists in 1967.
And Doc Rivers even gave Rondo a minute off.
So impressive was the third-year starter from Kentucky that the King himself, LeBron James, offered to guard Rondo when the best-of-7 series resumes at Cleveland on Tuesday night.
Whether James guards him or not in Game 5, the major issue for the Celtics is whether the rest of team can take the pressure off Rondo to have come up with similar numbers — he’s averaging 21.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 14.3 assists per game in the series so far — if the Green Team is to advance to the conference finals.
While Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have been largely productive in recent games, Paul Pierce’s struggles continue.
The Truth managed just nine points Sunday, when both he and center Kendrick Perkins — zero points in Game 4 — got into early foul trouble.
While Rondo’s play is to be celebrated, it’s time for the rest of the Celtics to stand up.
— Larry Mahoney
Red Sox won’t be in the playoff race
Is your glass half-empty or half-full? You’ve heard that phrase. It means do you take a negative look at things (half-empty) or a positive one (half-full)?
Those of us who are Red Sox fans are going to take a half-full approach.
The Red Sox have been unofficially eliminated from the playoff chase.
But we’re going to look at the positives.
But, before we do, don’t you have a little contempt for the Red Sox organization even though you will always be a Red Sox fan?
One beer costs $7.75 and a bottle of Poland Spring water costs $3.50. You can buy a case of water for that amount on sale. A whole case!
Doesn’t that give you a little of the mentality of “Take that for overcharging us. Wallow in mediocrity you greedy money-mongers!”
But we still want to see them win another World Series or two and, let’s face it, the Fenway experience will always be special.
One positive is the tickets will be easier to come by this season because the die-hards will stop coming in late August and September when it becomes clear that there won’t be a postseason.
In addition, for those of you who live and die with every pitch, you’ll be able to sit back and relax and enjoy the late-season games because they’ll take on the importance of an NFL exhibition game. You won’t scream at the TV or mix up your expletives when Ramon Ramirez or Hideki Okajima come out of the bullpen and promptly walk the first two hitters while trying to protect a one-run lead.
You won’t shake your head when David Ortiz bounces into the shift or into a double play with the bases loaded.
You won’t even say “Serenity Now” when Josh Beckett gives up a 440-foot bomb to Joe Mauer.
The current Red Sox have played 10 games against their American League Eastern Division rivals and are 2-8. And all of those games have been at Fenway Park!
So let’s just accept the season for what it is: a transition year.
Don’t bash Ortiz. He has helped supply the Red Sox with two World Championships after 86 years of futility. He is simply over the hill and should be put out to pasture in a respectful way. He has handled himself with class, unlike Manny Ramirez?
The Red Sox are the third best team in Major League baseball’s best division.
They will still win 87 games.
But it’s important that general manager Theo Epstein carefully scrutinize this team and be ready to make deals to shore up problematic areas. A power hitter and two reliable middle relievers would be a great start as they look to 2011.
— Larry Mahoney