Last night, the Boston Celtics were trailing 87-86 to the Dallas Mavericks. With the clock winding down, Boston had time for one last shot. With the game on the line, that final shot was an uncontested three-pointer from Rajon Rondo, a notoriously poor outside jump shooter. To wrap up the summary quickly and neatly, he missed, and the Celtics lost.
And the vast majority of what I’ve read while engulfed in my daily absorption session of the on-line Celtics nation is why that shot was acceptable. Forget acceptable, why that was a GREAT shot. Why it was the RIGHT shot. As usual, the excuse train pulled into the station for the Golden Child.
I may have not made many, if any of my fans through being one of Rondo’s biggest critics from within the Celtics Nation, but hey, in the words of LeBron James, “should I be who you want me to be?” Don’t get me wrong, Rondo is an excellent player and does a lot of things well, but it’s high time we break off from his spell and stop kidding ourselves.
With the amount of time that was left on the clock, there is no reason why the Celtics’ last shot should ever be a Rajon Rondo three-pointer, and there is no excuse Celtics fans can pull out of their you-know-wheres to justify such.
But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try!
“It was wide open. He HAD to take it.”
“It was the only option. Dallas was keyed in on every other Celtic on the floor and clogged the lane.”
“I’ve seen Rondo hit some clutch jumpers! He can hit that shot.”
(My personal favorite) “Rondo needs to get comfortable with these kinds of shots in case the situation arises for him later on.”
So, we should sacrifice the our greatest chance at winning basketball games right now in order for Rondo to get practice taking game winners because there might be a time in the future where he will maybe have to take that shot? Yeah. That’s rational.
Since when is that how championship contending teams operate? Oh right, it isn’t.
No, it was not the only option available. While it is true that the Mavericks were focused to deny the lane and the ball to the other Celtics on the floor, Rondo did not in any way have to take that three-pointer. If Rondo was so keen on calling his own number for the final possession, he should have been attacking the rim, and if not, the ball should have been taken out of his hands. If Dallas was as defensively concentrated on covering the other four options as it is being claimed, then either Rajon would have had an easy bucket, or a lane collapse would have left a teammate with a good look.
And guess who most likely would have been taking that good look? Only three Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, all of which have proven to be jump shooting closers throughout their respective careers. It is physically impossible to successfully clog the paint to deter a drive to the basket and be locked on to three or four players on the wing so intensely that they cannot even receive the ball.
Rondo, at this point of his career, is not a shooter, and especially is not a three-point shooter. There is a significant difference between launching a desperation jump shot as the shot clock winds down or the quarter comes to a close and taking a shot (which is out of range) that decides between a win and a loss.
Rajon Rondo shooting that three-pointer was NOT the best option available for the Celtics’ final possession, and it certainly was not the only one. There’s no reason Celtics fans should jump to accepting this shot as a reputable decision. It’s more than time to abandon this “Rondo can do no wrong” theory, because all it’s led to is dishing out excuses for every one of the point guard’s miscues. This idealistic approach will never be an accurate guage of Rondo’s development as an NBA player.
Oh yeah, and I don’t care what Paul Pierce says about it either.