NEW YORK -- A quiet pregame here at Madison Square Garden, but Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni livened things up a bit by taking a subtle shot at Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo in advance of Sunday's Game 4 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.
Asked about Rondo's triple-double performance the other night (and his stellar play overall in this series), D'Antoni seemed to question whether Boston's All-Star point guard would put up the numbers he does if he was playing without a Hall of Fame supporting cast.
"He's a very good player," said D'Antoni. "I'd like to see him play in Minnesota and see how he does. Everybody's tied together and they have three Hall of Famers playing out there. Rondo is a very good basketball player -- really good. But if you look at their team and you have to say, ‘What can we take away? What do we have to give them and play the odds?’ You have to give him his shot and you have to try to close up the middle on him and that’s kind of how we did it. We think that’s the best way to go. Nothing might work because they’re that good. He’s a very good basketball player, there’s no doubt about it."
Rondo is coming off a performance in which he produced his sixth career postseason triple-double, handing out a Celtics' playoff record 20 assists in Friday's Game 3 triumph.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted that any player in that situation is going to hear that criticism, but said Rondo is deserving of all the praise regardless of what's around him.
"You play with those guys, that’s probably what you’re going to get," said Rivers. "I don’t think he would trade it. I think he enjoys playing with them. If there is a negative side, I guess that would be it. No matter how well you play, the question will be [how much the supporting cast helped]. Some day, that will be answered, too. I got a feeling he’ll answer them all in the way he’s answering them now."