Though he didn’t score a single point until the fourth quarter, Rajon Rondo played a key role in the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 4 win over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. He scored some important points towards the end of the game and assisted Anthony Davis on the 3-pointer that sealed the game. Despite his disappointing regular season, Rondo has become a very important piece for the Lakers during the postseason.
He was injured for Los Angeles’ first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers but Damian Lillard had something to say about Rondo after the Lakers’ latest win.
Now, it would seem that the tweet is meant as admiration for Rondo but it could mean a number of things. Lillard isn’t the type to start throwing shade at players unprompted but Rondo has gotten under the skin of other players before. Lillard witnessed “Playoff Rondo” first hand when he was with the New Orleans Pelicans and he helped lead them to a sweep of the Trail Blazers. Lillard’s tweet is most likely an acknowledgment of how tough Rondo is to play against in the playoffs.
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Rondo Praises Frank Vogel & Rob Pelinka
All season long, fans questioned why head coach Frank Vogel kept Rondo in the rotation. Things looked worse after he hurt his wrist right when the team got to the bubble and when that got better, he started dealing with back spasms. It was looking like his impact would be minimal upon his return but that hasn’t been the case. He’s been one of the team’s best players in the playoffs. He credits Vogel and general manager Rob Pelinka for believing in him.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming back, I haven’t played ball in seven months, six, seven months. A couple injuries when I did come back,” Rondo said, via Silver Screen and Roll.
“But I’ve had a lot of belief in my work and my craft and what I’ve put in the last couple months. Coach Vogel has instilled a lot of confidence in me coming back,” Rondo said. “Saying that I play a very important role on this team, along with Rob Pelinka as well.”
He’s happy he can still make an impact on a contender this late in his career.
“Those guys from the top believed in me from day one,” Rondo said. “I just didn’t want to let my teammates down. I didn’t want to let myself down. I’m a very competitive person, and feeling like I do have an impact on this team, helping this team win.”
Vogel Doesn’t Like the ‘Playoff Rondo’ Idea
Whether people like to admit it or not, “Playoff Rondo” is a real thing. For whatever reason, Rondo plays better in the games that matter the most. However, Vogel isn’t a fan of the notion.
“I personally don’t really like the ‘Playoff Rondo’ thing because I think it implies that he’s not good in the regular season,” Vogel said. “He’s been good for us all year. Obviously, the great players are going to play their best in the playoffs. That’s no different with Rondo, but he’s been consistent and really good for us all year.”
Of course, the idea of “Playoff Rondo” suggests that he’s not great in the regular season but it’s true that he wasn’t.