Sunday afternoon at the team’s practice facility in Waltham, the Celtics were still buzzing about “the steal” — the game-changing hustle play that Rajon Rondo made against Orlando’s Jason Williams in the second quarter of Saturday night’s game.
With 8:34 to play in the second, Rondo dove between the legs of the sprinting Williams, pried the ball out from between his ankles, hopped to his feet and finished with a layup to give the Celtics a 19-point lead, 37-16. Rondo’s teammates still haven’t stopped talking about it.
“Me and my friends were just talking about that play,” captain Paul Pierce said Sunday. “That’s going to be a play that the next 20 years, you’re going to see them replaying in all the NBA commercials. The next 20, 25, 30 years. That’s how great that play was.”
“Where he’s from?” asked Glen Davis. “He’s from Mars. He’s a different player. For him to show the energy like that, we feed off things like that. I tip my hat off to Rondo.”
In addition to burying the Magic in the second quarter, both on the scoreboard and emotionally, the play served to fire up a Celtics team that’s now poised to sweep Orlando and advance to the NBA Finals.
“It’s inspirational,” Pierce said. “When you see a guy hustling for the ball when he looks like he has no chance to get it, dive on the ball, come up with a huge play, that can spark your team. And that’s what it did. It was one of the ultimate hustle plays that you see in basketball.”