This season, Rajon Rondo will play a crucial role as one of the veteran leaders on a young, up-and-coming Lakers team. However, prior to signing with Los Angeles this summer, Rondo wasn’t the most popular guy in town because of his time with the Boston Celtics.
Rondo spent the first eight seasons of his 13-year career wearing Celtic green, including the 2007-08 season, when the Celtics ran the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers out of TD Garden in Game 6 of the NBA Finals 131-92. It was the first time since 1984 the Lakers had lost to the Celtics and it tormented the hyper-competitive Bryant for two years.
Then, in 2010, the Lakers and the Celtics were back in the Finals, but this time Bryant came out on top, winning his fifth championship ring and his second consecutive Finals MVP. But what was different for Bryant the second time around?
Rondo: It’s interesting, I just found out something about Kobe, what he did in the 2010 championship Game 7. How he broke the game down and figured out how to beat us. I can’t give you the insight on that, but I just found that out. Like, maybe 45 minutes ago. It kinda pissed me off a little bit. It’s part of it, but it’s craziness. It’s amazing how he thinks the game, and it’s fun to know that.
MT: Wait, wait … so in Game 7, Kobe figure something out during the game that helped the Lakers beat the Celtics for a championship, or did he do it between Game 6 and Game 7?
Rondo: I don’t know if it was going into the game, but it was told to me that he had to figure it out during the game. He wasn’t himself. So he had to figure out a different way to win the game.
MT: OK wait, so you heard it from Rob (Pelinka)?
Rondo: Somebody. (laughs) I can’t give you my source.
Bryant infamously went cold in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, going 6-for-24 from the field, including 0-for-6 from behind the arc. He did, however, grab a game-high 11 defensive rebounds, and still contributed 23 points, albeit on a wildly inefficient 25 percent shooting from the field.
Was it Bryant’s work on the boards that led the Lakers to their 16th title in franchise history? Did he intentionally miss shots to freak out the Celtics? Did he blow in Paul Pierce’s ear to throw him off of his game off camera?
That’s something only Rondo and a few other people can answer, which has to bug the crap out of him. And even though he’s in a Lakers uniform now, it’s hard not to get some joy out of knowing that.
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