Los Angeles Lakers: Playoff Rondo is here and will stay

Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Rajon Rondo elevates the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 helping them get the lead of the conference semifinals.

Apparently, Playoff Rondo has definitely shown up in this postseason for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rajon Rondo delivered another fantastic performance in Game 3 helping the Lakers overcome the Rockets for a 2-1 lead.

He had 21 points and 9 assists shooting 60 percent from three, for a game-second-best +7 plus/minus (Markieff Morris‘s +10 while shooting 1-for-6 from the floor and 4-for-0 from three cannot be taken in consideration).

15 of those points and five assists came in the critical second half, making all by himself an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to build the lead that secured the win for the Lakers. His teammates had just words of praise for him.

LeBron James said in a post game interview (h/t NBA.com):

"When you have enough people you can trust and be in the foxhole with you, not from a basketball aspect, but from a cerebral aspect […], being able to see how defenses are playing, seeing how the game is being played, seeing how the flow of the game is being played, there’s just not many guys that can do that in our league. In the postseason, it’s gigantic. Having Do’ on your side definitely helps."

While Anthony Davis added:

"Playoff Rondo is real. His intensity picks up. He wants to guard the best perimeter guy. You see [it], he guards James and Russ sometimes. He wants to facilitate on the floor. He’s shooting the ball very well, making the right passes. His IQ is on another level. We’ve got the two best I.Q. guys in the game with him and LeBron on the floor at the same time, which is tough for defenses. And he’s making the right plays. So, Playoff Rondo is real, and he showed up tonight."

Head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged the work he put in despite all the adversity this season to get to the level he is playing right now:

"I do know he worked extremely hard before he came back into the bubble, and when he got back into the bubble […] he’s been really persistent with his work. So, when he gets his legs under him, you know what kind of gamer he is this time of the year and he’s been spectacular the last two games."

This time Rondo did not spend much time guarding James Harden, but to score the seventh and eighth point of that personal run he came up with another huge steal from James Harden as he did in Game 2.

To wrap up his performance, in the final seconds of the game, in an act of total self-confidence, he deliberately got the inbound pass, instead of letting some better shooter receive it, to get fouled, go to the free-throw line and close the game. He wanted to put his seal on it.

Next. 5 lessons from Game 3 win over Houston. dark

The Rockets are far from conquered and the series is still long. Having Rajon give this kind of contribution is crucial for the Los Angeles Lakers, not only leading the team with and without LeBron James, but also reanimating an LA bench which looked completely unreliable in March.