During the first half of the Celtics' Game 1 win at TD Garden on Saturday night, Rajon Rondo looked to be sleepwalking on the floor. Take a quick look at the point guard's postgame stat line, though, and it may tell a very different story.
On the court, Rondo couldn't seem to find his rhythm in the first half. The dynamic point guard appeared to be overthinking nearly every play he made, forcing passes that weren't there, passing up open lanes to the basket and even lacking the elite energy level that makes him one of the toughest assignments in basketball.
Rondo headed for the locker room at the half having scored just two points on 1 of 5 shooting. Even dishing out eight assists before the break couldn't hide his dismal performance.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers acknowledged his point guard's deficiencies, even suggesting Rondo was looking to do too much.
"I thought he was searching for what to do early on, how to attack," Rivers said following Boston's 92-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. "We were in random too much."
It was a very different Rondo that emerged for the Celtics in the second half, though. The same player that could be caught daydreaming before had apparently pulled his best Clark Kent impersonation, somehow finding the awe-inducing form that usually causes opposing coaches to have nightmares.
Rondo appeared both energized and focused during the second half of play, pushing the tempo up the floor and creating scoring chances for Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and a scorching-hot Kevin Garnett.
"Swag," as Rondo is fondly referred to by Celtics teammates, had shifted his game into high gear. He put on a drool-worthy performance. By night's end, Rondo was sporting a triple-double — 13 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists, his second triple-double of this postseason.
Rondo was actually shocked by his impressive performance, though, explaining that he hadn't exactly gotten to his typical pregame routine.
"I didn't think I would play the way I played tonight. I didn't get a nap today, so I didn't know what to expect," Rondo said after notching his eighth career playoff triple-double.
"I was struggling with my shot early, and I was turning the ball over, so I was trying to do the intangibles, and do everything I could to help my team," Rondo added of his early struggles. "I came up with some rebounds, I came up with some assists, and it just happened to be a triple-double night."
Unlike the star point guard, Rivers definitely noticed the change in mentality, highlighting Rondo's will to win as the difference in the game.
"I thought Rondo's shooting, obviously, down the stretch was fantastic," Rivers said, complimenting his point guard's determination. "He wanted those shots."
Kevin Garnett echoed his coach's comments in the locker room but was a little more direct about the clear shift in Rondo's game.
"Swag was aggressive, man. I thought, second half, he did a lot better job looking for his shot," Garnett said of Rondo after an impressive performance of his own. "He did a good job balancing out, trying to get Paul [Pierce] once, trying to get myself one."
Rondo may have entered Game 1 as Clark Kent, but even missing his daily nap couldn't keep the talented point guard from turning into Superman by night's end.