Cassell and Rondo on the floor together.
Cassell played the entire fourth quarter, floating seamlessly between the point-guard and shooting guard positions. He scored five points and grabbed two rebounds in the final frame, not only nailing the go-ahead three, but providing the stable, veteran, crunch-time presence the Celtics expected when they signed him and desperately needed last night.
Rondo, meanwhile, despite being sent to the bench with seven minutes left in the game and sitting there inactive until returning with 50 seconds left, walked on the court and proceeded to grab an offensive rebound, draw a foul, and calmly drain two free throws with 16 ticks left on the clock, putting the C’s up by four.
Oh, and by the way, Rondo ended the night scoring 20 points (on 9-18 shooting), grabbing six rebounds, and adding three assists and three steals, including one theft from Duncan that made TD look more like the Chief in his waning years than a former-league MVP.
So while many in the media expressed grave concern about the impact that the Cassell acquisition would have on young Rondo’s ego and playing time, it turns out that the two not only can peacefully co-exist, but can play together effectively and productively.
No less important, Cassell, at 6-3, is proving he can play a good ten-minutes at the off-guard, hit open jumpers, and wear down defenders by forcing them to chase him around the court to prevent wide-open looks.
Adding Cassell as back-up point-guard was pretty close to essential for the Celtics to maintain serious hopes of playing deep into June. Adding Cassell as an insurance policy for Ray Allen, however, was a luxury not unlike a car-owner who takes his Beamer out of storage while the Benz is at the garage having some work done.
Cassell the veteran leader bridges his other two personas into one priceless package