After impressively sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in their first-round playoff series, the New Orleans Pelicans have set their sights on causing an upset by overcoming the Golden State Warriors in round two.
With Rajon Rondo once again elevating his game in the postseason, there is a slight chance they could pull it off.
The point guard often saves his best for this stage of the season and has added another dimension to the Pelicans team alongside Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, who have been great all year.
The veteran is frequently questioned for his attitude, application and being disruptive in the locker room for his teammates and coaches.
But once the playoffs start, he's always roundly praised for his game, earning him the label "Playoff Rondo".
Over the years, the 32-year-old has always increased his production once the postseason begins and this campaign has been no different.
When asked about the nickname in a recent interview, he admitted it's not one he's willing to embrace.
"I've done what I've done in the past. I let my game speak for itself. I feel like, when I get a certain amount of minutes and when the coaches allow me to be me on the court, I'm Rondo. There's no 'Playoff Rondo.'"
Despite his dislike for the name, the numbers show that he's having much more of an impact for New Orleans in the playoffs than he did in the regular season.
He almost averaged a triple-double of 11.3 points, 13.3 assists, and 7.5 rebounds in their sweep of the Blazers, which is an improvement on his 8.3 points, 8.2 assists, and four boards during the 82-game campaign.
Rondo is, however, playing nine more minutes per game than he did throughout the year which is affording him more time to be effective on the court.
In his defence, the former Boston Celtics guard can certainly point to his resume to prove that he has been able to produce in the regular season throughout his career.
He's earned four All-Star appearances, one All-NBA and four All-Defensive selections and has led the league in assists four times.
"'Playoff Rondo,' I think, is a myth. But I do love the big moments," he said.
They don't come much bigger than a series against the defending champions and the Pelicans will hope the very best version of Rondo emerges to give them a chance to shock the men from the Bay Area.
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