Rondo Does his Best Imitation of Bird

For Game 6, Bird was clearly in no mood to fool around. Early in the fourth period with the Celtics ahead by 84-61, he searched his arsenal for the final dagger to plunge into the Rockets' heart. Sweeping up the refuse of a half-court play gone bad, Bird, for no apparent reason, began dribbling away from the basket to the far left corner. As the shot clock wound down, he let fly with as arrogant a shot as has ever been hoisted in the playoffs, an I-can-do-anything three-pointer. "Every one I took was on target today," Bird would say later. And so was this one. Game over.

--Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated, June 16, 1986

My best friend and I read this article independently, days passed, and then we got together to play some hoops.

The conversation went something like this:

Lex: Did you read the Sports Illustrated article?

Friend: Oh yeah. "Bird started dribbling away from the basket."

Lex: The 1986 season in a nutshell.

Friend: Yup, Bird did whatever Bird wanted to do.

A lot of our conversations went like that.

We still recall that moment as the representative moment of Celtic swagger, not just for the 1985-86 basketball season, but for the entire Bird Era.

Tonight we saw the first of what might be many such moments for the 2008-09 Boston Celtics in general, and Rajon Rondo in particular.

Midway through the third quarter, Rondo grabs an offensive rebound, has room to go left or right for a quick put back. Instead, he starts dribbling away from the basket. All the way out to the three point line.

Then what happened?

The camera closes and shows Rondo mugging for someone, probably the defender. He looked like Ali toying with Chuck Wepner. Head bobbing up and down. Eyes wide open.

What shall I do?

I think I'll blow past him for a lay-up.

No sooner had the thought entered his mind than Rondo was at the rim for two.

A page straight out of Bird's championship playbook.

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