Throughout the regular season, Rajon Rondo’s behaviour had been detrimental to the Chicago Bulls, and it even threatened to harm their season, with adverse affects on chemistry. Prior to the start of the season, many predicted the Bulls to be a difficult match-up, but dysfunction clouded the initial vision Chicago had of a stress-free year. Tensions hit an all-time high when the point guard posted a cryptic Instagram post calling out both Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, leading many to think that these three just couldn’t coexist.
But after Tuesday’s 111-97 blowout victory against the top-seeded Boston Celtics gave Chicago a 2-0 series lead, these concerns have all but vanished.
Up 2-0 on the road?
It hasn’t happened to the Bulls since 1993. pic.twitter.com/tEeYAtq4Hj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 19, 2017
The fact that the Bulls, the eighth-seed who were projected to get dumped out the first round with little complaint, are leading the series 2-nothing against the first seed is one thing, but both games have been played on Boston’s home court. To put this in perspective, Chicago had only won 16 games on the road this season before the playoffs.
Chicago have undoubtedly stepped up their game for the postseason, but nobody expected this much of a turn-around, and one player is shining through when many anticipated he’d just fall into the background — Rondo.
— COMMON (@common) April 19, 2017
On Sunday night Rondo was playing like his old self. He was playing as if he had never been traded to the Dallas Mavericks or the Sacramento Kings where his career took a significant downturn. He was playing as if he had never suffered that torn ACL back in 2013. To put it simply, he was playing like he was back on the Celtics, against the Celtics.
The four-time NBA All-Star put up 11 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds and five steals in the Bulls’ triumph on Tuesday night to go with the 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists in game one.
While it wasn’t entirely on Rondo’s turn of form as to how the Bulls are up 2 games to zero, with several other players stepping up (Wade, 22 points, put in a vintage performance to go with Butler’s 22, Robin Lopez’s 18, and Paul Zipser’s 16), he’s been a pretty significant factor.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 19, 2017
After his near triple-double outing, Rondo notched double-digits in assists in a playoff game for the 42nd time. A quite impressive statistic exemplifying his incredible passing ability and court vision. While he may not have enjoyed the most successful regular season, the last two games have proven that ‘Playoff Rondo’ is most definitely at large.
If the Bulls can keep their point guard’s competitive drive fully charged for the remainder of this series and for the rest of a potential playoff run, the possibilities are endless to how far he can lead this spirited Chicago side.