After averaging 8.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game in the regular season, New Orleans Pelicans point guard Rajon Rondo has stepped up in the playoffs.
In the first round, he put up 11.3 points, 7.5 boards and 13.3 assists in a four-game sweep over the Portland Trail Blazers. He also got off to a hot start in the first two games of New Orleans’ second-round series against the Golden State Warriors.
In a 123-101 Game 1 loss, he was just one point and two rebounds shy of a triple-double, scoring nine points, pulling down eight boards and dishing out 11 assists in 33 minutes.
In a narrow 121-116 Game 2 defeat, he was simply dominant, going 8-of-15 from the field for 22 points along with seven rebounds, 12 assists and five steals in 38 minutes.
Down 2-0 in the series, Rondo needed to deliver once again in Game 3 if his team stood any chance of coming up with a victory.
Not only did he do so, but he enjoyed an historic night and was able to operate at will on the offensive end.
Although he scored just four points on 2-of-11 shooting in 37 minutes, Rondo dished out a playoff career-high 21 assists and also pulled down 10 boards. Most importantly, the Pelicans earned a 119-100 victory in front of their home crowd and held serve, shifting the momentum of the series.
The 32-year-old point guard became the fifth player since 1990 to record 20-plus assists in a playoff game, joining Magic Johnson and three other legends of the sport.
Amazingly, it’s been the first time that an NBA player has had 20-plus assists in a playoff game in seven years. A familiar facilitator accomplished the feat in that year.
Rondo is clearly in a league of his own when it comes to racking up assists. No player other than him has had a 20-assist game in the postseason in the past decade. Although most point guards around the league are interested in scoring the basketball, Rondo's willingness to find his teammates can have positive results, like it did on Friday.
To add, he became the third player in league history to record multiple 20-assist playoff games. Just Magic and John Stockton had more.
Game 4 will take place on Sunday afternoon. Only time will tell if Rondo can help the Pelicans tie up the series or if the Warriors will end up taking a 3-1 lead back to the Bay for Game 5.
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