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Celtics' Rajon Rondo takes on all comers

He takes tight Game 2 against Lakers down the stretch and manages to cast series anew in about a five-minute spurt. He finishes with a triple-double — 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

June 06, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

Kendrick Perkins knows the real Rajon Rondo, not some reasonable facsimile.

More or less, Perkins knows what Rondo is truly capable of doing, rather than not capable of doing.

This was, in part, why the Celtics center approached the point guard after the Celtics dropped the opener of the NBA Finals to the Lakers.

"Last game, after we lost, I came to him, and I asked him, 'That's not the Rondo I know,'" Perkins said Sunday.

"He can fool people sometimes. If you look at his numbers: 'Rondo did this.'"

However, "when you see numbers like this, that's the real Rondo."

The real Rondo took a tight game down the stretch in the fourth quarter and managed to cast the series in a completely different light in about a five-minute spurt.

In all, he had a triple-double — 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists — but 10 of those points came in the fourth quarter in the Celtics' 103-94 victory over the Lakers in Game 2 at Staples Center on Sunday, leveling the series at one game each.

"I expect it," Perkins said. " ... Whatever he did this game, he's got to keep doing."

And so, that was the big Celtics-Lakers matchup of Game 2. Rondo vs. the field.

Rondo 1, Field 0.

"I'm not a pretty superstitious guy, but I did things different today," Rondo said. "I felt real good shooting the ball before the game. DA [team President Danny Ainge] told me before the game, try to get a lot of FGAs [field goal attempts] up tonight, and I did. I wasn't shooting extremely well, but I was being aggressive.

"If we lose the game, I want to go out being aggressive. I don't want to fall back or hold anything back."

Said the Lakers' Sasha Vujacic: "They played the right way. They played as an experienced team. There's no secret. Rondo managed the game the right way. They found one or two hot guys and they moved the ball the right way."

The other red-hot guy would be shooting guard Ray Allen. He defined the term from three-point range, hitting eight, the most made in a NBA Finals game, and finished with 32 points.

The backcourt of Allen and Rondo combined for 51 points, compared with the combined 27 from Lakers guards Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant.

But it wasn't as though Rondo had a lousy game in the Finals opener. He had 13 points and six rebounds in Game 1 but just three points and two rebounds in the second half.

This time, rebounding helped Rondo in numerous ways.

"He got the long rebounds," said the Lakers' Lamar Odom. "Has a great feel for the game. He's done it all year. Ball bounces long, he's quick at it."

Said Rondo: "I think when I rebound I'm able to start the fast break myself, instead of an outlet pass. They did a good job jamming outlets and getting steals. But for the most part our bigs did a great job handling the ball. When I rebound the ball, like I said, it starts with me, and I'm able to push the ball on the break."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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