When Boston Celtic’s point guard Rajon Rondo got tangled up with Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade halfway through the third quarter he fell awkwardly and most people looked away because the sight was gruesome. At first glance it looked like Rondo broke his arm and would be done for the remainder of the playoffs.
As the Boston medical staff took him off, many Celtic’s fans could see Boston’s playoff chances going with him. ABC replayed the fall and the “ohhs” from the announce team were audible.
Turns out nothing was broken but Rondo did dislocate his elbow and the medical staff had to pop it back in. What do you think happened next?
With their starter pistol out of action the Celtics should have folded but instead of defeat, the Celtics responded with the spark they have been missing all season. While they did play much better in the first half of game three then at any point in this series so far, you could feel a switch get flipped for this team.
Reports said Glen “Big Baby” Davis needed to be restrained from leaving the bench and going after Wade following the play, which is more positive play then Davis has had all series.
Then the unthinkable happened, Rondo returned to the bench, an amazing emotional lift. Then the miraculous happened, he reentered the game and played shut down defense on Dwayne Wade with one arm, cemented by a steal and fast break slam dunk.
Rondo didn’t bend his arm for most of the fourth quarter and told ESPN following the game that he felt ok, the adrenaline had kept him going and he would be ready for game four.
The Boston crowd was tuned in and hyper tonight and the injury to Rondo brought out a fierce hatred of Wade followed by an unmatched level of excitement when Rondo returned. Every positive thing he did following the injury brought with it ruckus applause.
Many people look at Willis Reed coming out during Game 7 of the 1970s NBA Finals as the greatest moment of a player leaving the court and coming back ever but what Rondo did tonight has to be in the discussion.
The only thing the Celtics lacked tonight was someone coming out and decking Wade to send a message. They have been getting pushed around all series and needed to stand up for themselves.
The Celtics are back in this series and in a big way. As long as the crowd keeps they going in game 4, there is no way the Celtics lose it. Any thought that the big three plus Rondo were done are over and the Heat now have serious battle on their hands.