After dropping two straight postseason games at home to the No. 8-seed Chicago Bulls, the top-seeded Boston Celtics have been presented with a golden opportunity to shift the series’ momentum.
The Bulls announced starting point guard Rajon Rondo will be out indefinitely due to a right thumb fracture.
Rondo has been stellar thus far against his former team, nearly averaging a triple double through the first two games. His 2017 postseason averages of 11.5 points, 10 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals have been a headache for the Celtics to try and contain. When Rondo has been on the floor in this series the Bulls net efficiency rating has jumped plus-14.5 points opposed to the minus-5.4 when he is on the bench.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune provided more details surrounding the Rondo injury. According to Johnson’s sources within the team the point guard will be out for at least seven days after which the Bulls will reevaluate his injury. However, Johnson reports that getting Rondo back anytime soon may be wishful thinking. There is “internal pessimism” within the organization that he may be out well into a potential second round series.
Second-year point guard Jerian Grant will start in place of Rondo for game three of the series. During the 2017 postseason Grant has shot just 16.7 percent from the floor and 20 percent from behind the arc. He’s averaged three points, one rebound and two assists in the first two tilts against the Celtics.
If Boston wants to prove their legitimate contenders the time is now to take advantage. With their opponent now down one of their best players the Celtics need to start doing what good teams do: win the games they should.
Down two games to none against an eighth seed is not were anyone expected Boston to be at this point. It’ll be a true test of this team’s mental toughness to see how they respond in game three against the Rondo-less Bulls.