The Bulls are not so certain. It was five months ago that Rondo was suspended for a game by the team following an incident in which he threw a towel at assistant coach Jim Boylan during a game. He was subsequently benched for five games in late December and early January. The Bulls were considering waiving Rondo then, but kept him around in case an opportunity to trade him arose.
Despite that, the consensus has been that the Bulls would rush to let Rondo go this offseason. But that was before Rondo pulled himself together in the final month of the season and played like the point guard the Bulls they thought they were getting. He averaged 12.0 points, 8.0 assists and 6.2 rebounds in his final 13 games (he missed three games with a back injury), shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 48.7 percent from the 3-point line.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has done a tremendous job throughout the season of configuring his lineups and designing sets that create scoring opportunities for Thomas, even with opposing teams knowing he is the No. 1 option. In the fourth quarter of Game 2, Stevens used Al Horford as a screener to give Thomas a couple open off-the-catch looks. One benefit of using a small-ball lineup (aside from the spacing provided by multiple shooters) is having ball handlers like Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier on the floor. In the following play, Rozier played point, allowing Thomas to flare off the Horford screen for a wide open 3-pointer.
Rozier also handled point responsibilities on a key Thomas 3 with 2:30 left in regulation. Horford faked a ball screen for Rozier before leaking out to hit Thomas’ defender, John Wall. Marcin Gortat, who was guarding Horford, is so far out helping on a ball screen that doesn’t exist he has no time to recover back to Thomas. Shot up, too late.