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Here's Depending On You, Kid

By Sarah Barton


Rondo (playing well) + Eddie House (playing out of his mind) = Crucial Game 2 Victory.

Guard play propelled the Celtics to a Game 2 victory over Orlando. My guess is that Rondo was in diapers when Boston last depended so much on its guards.

In the middle of the season, the Celtics were worried about their depth at the guard position. In came Marbury, whose overall contributions to the team have been mediocre at best. Now that Marbury has provided an extra body, the main concern is consistency. Rondo holds Boston's consistency key.

Offensively, everything runs through Rondo. If Rondo doesn't bring his A-game, the C's are likely in for a long night. That has become very clear thus far in the playoffs. 

Sure, Rondo ran the offense when the Celtics won it all last year. This time around, however, KG's absence places far more pressure on the young guard. When Garnett is on the floor, Boston has more room for error on a nightly basis, thus taking some of the stress off Rondo. Garnett is the Celtics' emotional floor general, but there's only so much he can do from the bench. Presently, a bulk of that responsibility falls on Rondo's skinny little shoulders.

Rondo is responsible for leading a handful of veterans into battle. The veterans have been around the block a few times before and can get the job done, but the spunky 23-year-old general has to light the fire under their butts.

Despite the experience that Rondo gained during last year's championship run, there is still a ton of room for maturation. Sometimes that is blatantly obvious (Game 1 vs. the Magic), and sometimes he plays like a first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate (Game 2 vs. the Magic). What gives?

Given the pressure and the injuries and the high tensions that have plagued (and will continue to plague) the Celtics so far during the playoffs, it is not fair or possible to expect Rondo to put together Hall of Fame games every night. The good thing about Rondo is that he can score, pass, rebound, and defend. The bad thing is that when he has an off-night, all of those things go down the toilet for the Celtics.

It is unlikely that Eddie House will play out of his mind and drop 30 again anytime soon. It is not unlikely, however, that Rondo will continue to put up triple-double type numbers for the remainder of the playoffs. If he does, great. The Celtics will be in the best possible position to be successful. If he doesn't, Boston is in trouble.

Rondo (playing well) + (insert Celtic whose turn it is to step up) = Game 3 Victory.

Notice that Rondo (playing well) is the constant in the equation.

No pressure, kid.


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