The Los Angeles Lakers stepped up following their Game 1 loss to the Houston Rockets, notching four consecutive wins to advance to the Western Conference Finals. While LeBron James and Anthony Davis were the main architects, Rajon Rondo’s emergence has not gone unnoticed.
And with that have come revived conversations about the return of “Playoff Rondo.” The veteran guard struggled in the series opener upon his return from thumb and back injuries but turned the tide since.
Even though the 2008 NBA champion has said he does not buy into the idea of raising his level of play in the postseason, there’s some difference of opinions between James and Davis.
“It’s real. Playoff Rondo is real,” Davis claimed. “His intensity picks up, he wants to guard the best perimeter guy; you saw 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 to two best IQ guys in the game with him and LeBron on the floor at the same time, which is tough for defenses. Playoff Rondo is real and he showed up tonight.”
James did follow Davis in heaping praise on Rondo but offered a different take on the existence of the 34-year-old guard’s imaginary playoff persona. “Listen, at the end of the day, whatever makes ‘Do continue to play like he’s playing, then I don’t buy into it either,” he said. “But he’s been exceptional.
“For me, being in the playoffs and on the opposing side of him for so many years, I knew what he was capable of, especially in the postseason. To now be on the same side as him, seeing it coming together for the both of us and our team, it’s perfect.”
Vogel: James should be MVP
In addition the second round of the playoffs witnessing Rondo turning back the block, James surpassed Derek Fisher for the most playoff wins in NBA history.
And when asked about the three-time champion’s achievement, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said it served as another argument as to why James deserves the MVP Award this season. “I said it when we talked about the MVP this year, nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James,” Vogel said.
“That’s true for this season, that’s why he should be MVP and honestly, it’s probably true in the history of the game.”
While the NBA is yet to announce the winner of the MVP award, James has already been snubbed in the All-Defensive selection. Davis was the only Laker to receive the recognition as he was picked to All-Defensive First Team for the second time in his career.
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