The Celtics had managed to even the series at one game apiece despite the absence of Rondo, who was serving a one-game suspension for bumping referee Marc Davis in the series opener. The Celtics had promised they would win Game 2 for Rondo, and thanks to a Herculean effort by Paul Pierce, they delivered.
Rondo was not entirely apologetic but not entirely bitter, either, in addressing how he felt missing out on the playoff game. He said watching the game was only difficult when the Celtics were trailing, and that he did not feel he let his teammates down by drawing the suspension.
"I'm important to the team, but everybody's important to this team in one way or another," Rondo said Thursday. "Obviously, I'm the starting point guard, but that's what guys get paid to do. It's a 15-guy roster. Guys stepped up. They played well and however we got the win, we got the win."
Rondo, who watched the game from a location he declined to disclose, said he does not worry about trying to make up for his absence by being overly aggressive in Game 3. He seemed to become more emotional as Game 1 wore on and admitted he let his emotions get the better of him, but he did not expect those emotions to overtake him in Game 3, whether in his play or in his dealings with the officials.
"I don't think I ever try to do too much," Rondo said. "I'm a pass-first point guard. It's not like I go out there and try to dominate the ball and get all the shots. I try to keep my teammates happy and get a win."
The Celtics will be happy to have Rondo back in uniform on Friday.