Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been the best player in the NBA playoffs and he showed why in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Rondo had two steals, an amazing tip in over the much taller Lamar Odom and a game-sealing lay up in helping the Boston Celtics take a 3-2 series lead with a 92-86 victory Sunday.
Game 6 is Tuesday in Los Angeles. If the Lakers are able to win that game, there will be a decisive Game 7. It will be Thursday night in Los Angeles.
With it being a 2-3-2 format, the Lakers host the last two games because they have home-court advantage. All that will go for naught if Rondo and the Celtics win the series.
In his fourth season out of Kentucky, Rondo has emerged as one of the top point guards in the NBA. He really made his splash in leading the Celtics past the top seed in the playoffs – the Cleveland Cavaliers – and is at it again against the defending NBA champions.
With the Celtics up eight points a little under the halfway point in the fourth quarter Sunday night, Rondo tipped the ball away from Kobe Bryant, took the saved pass from Ray Allen and scored in transition.
Then he had another steal on Lakers’ ensuing possession. Boston didn’t score on that trip, but after the Lakers didn’t score, either, Rondo had an amazing tip in at the rim over Odom to put the Celtics up 87-75.
The Lakers made a run and got it down to five, 87-82, but a big offensive rebound by Kendrick Perkins off a Ray Allen missed 3-pointer with 65 seconds left gave Boston the extra possession it needed to run clock.
Then Rondo put it away on a lay up with 35.2 seconds left to put Boston up, 89-82.
Now is this series over?
Don’t think so.
The Lakers will take Game 6 Tuesday to force a Game 7.
Oh boy. It’s going to be on.