AP Photo/Charles Krupa
LeBron James on Rajon Rondo. Stats say it's a favorable matchup for the Celtics.Lost in all the hubbub about LeBron James potentially serving as primary defender on Rajon Rondo in Tuesday's Game 5 between the Celtics and Cavaliers is this: Rondo's actually done pretty well against him in the past.
The wizards at ESPN Stats and Information relay that James guarded Rondo on 10 plays over the past three regular seasons and, in that span, Rondo scored 10 points.
That averages out to 100 points per 100 plays. Against all other defenders during that same period, Rondo averaged 88 points per 100 plays.
Rondo connected on 5-of-10 shots against James and did not commit a single turnover, not exactly the lockdown statistics you might expect giving all the hype over whether James will check Rondo.
Rondo posted a triple double (29 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists) in Boston's Game 4 victory Sunday, evening the series at two games apiece as the scene shifts to Cleveland for Tuesday's Game 5.
While much of the chatter at the Celtics' practice Wednesday centered around the Rondo-James matchup, Boston players and coaches were still buzzing about Rondo's performance.
And with good reason. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Rondo became only the third player in NBA history to post the sort of playoff numbers he did in Sunday's win. The others? Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson (32 points, 19 rebounds, 13 assists) in an overtime win over Syracuse in 1963 and Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain (29 points, 36 rebounds, 13 assists) against Boston in 1967.
"Wilt was pretty good," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after Monday's practice, fully aware of his understatement. "Thirty-six rebounds. I saw that and it blew me away. As a team, we had [30 in Friday's Game 3 loss]. That's remarkable though. It's nice. It's such a stat-driven environment now, you can come up with stats everyday that, 'Oh, the first time in history that...' You can always come up with something. But when you have the type of game [Rondo] had, clearly not a lot of people have done it."