After Rajon Rondo's performance for the ages in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon, the Celtics got word that Rondo's numbers — 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists — were unparalleled in NBA playoff history by everyone but Oscar Robertson (32 19, 13) and Wilt Chamberlain (29, 36, 13).
Pretty impressive, they agreed.
"I think Wilt was pretty good," head coach Doc Rivers joked on Monday. "Those 36 rebounds, wow. I saw that, that just blew me away. I saw that and I said, 'Shoot, I think we had 31 the other day as a team.' That's a remarkable thing."
So where does Rondo stack up against the legends, given his clear propensity for big numbers in big games? Perhaps it's a bit too early to say.
"It's such a stat-driven environment now," Rivers said. "You know, you can come up with stats every day — 'first time in history,' you can always come up with something. But when you have the type of game that he had, clearly there's not a lot of other people that have done it."
Absolutely not. So where can we rank Rondo? Here are a few of the other great playoff performances of Celtic lore:
Ray Allen, April 30, 2009
Let's start with a little recent history. Allen was the Celtics' go-to guy in Game 6 of their first-round series with Chicago, the epic triple-overtime game that ended in Derrick Rose's Bulls forcing a deciding seventh game. Allen had 51 points in that one, a career playoff high, but the Celtics fell just short of winning the instant classic, 128-127 in Chicago. Still a career night for the veteran shooting guard, who made nine 3-pointers and stepped up countless times to keep the C's alive down the stretch.
Paul Pierce, May 18, 2008
One of the great one-on-one duels in NBA history — Pierce and LeBron James going toe-to-toe in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. LeBron won the scoring title, with 45 points to Pierce's 41, but the Celtics won the game, and Pierce was the hero. The Celtics' captain shot 13-of-23 from the field, 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 11-of-12 from the free-throw line, bringing his team one step closer to championship banner No. 17.
Larry Bird, June 8, 1986
When the Celtics won their final championship with the original Big Three, it was Bird who led the way in the deciding victory. Larry Legend went off for 29 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets, and the Celtics won a blowout on the parquet floor of the old Boston Garden. It was arguably the best all-around single game that Bird ever played.
Jo Jo White, June 4, 1976
The unforgettable triple-overtime game — Game 5 of the '76 Finals against the Phoenix Suns. With the series tied 2-2 and both teams fighting desperately to gain the upper hand, White played an unbelievable 60 minutes for the Celtics. He led all scorers with 33 points, including countless clutch baskets to keep his team alive. The Celtics would win the game, 128-126 in the third extra session, and the series in six.
Bill Russell, April 9, 1960
Of the 11 rings that Russell won in his career, the third might have been the toughest. Bob Pettit and the St. Louis Hawks pushed Russell's Celtics to seven games — but Russell responded in Game 7 with a performance for the ages, coming up with 22 points and an unheard-of 35 rebounds to carry the Celtics to their third banner.
Fifty years later, they're in search of their 18th. Maybe another performance is yet to be added to this list.
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