The Chicago Bulls are up 2-0 against the top-seeded Boston Celtics in their first-round series, and they can thank their point guard and coach on the floor, Rajon Rondo, for the improbable start to this year’s postseason.

Rondo has been magnificent both as the floor general and voice of the Bulls‘ huddle in the first two games. With Rondo at the offensive controls, the Bulls are finally playing the way everyone envisioned when Fred Hoiberg was hired – running and gunning up and down the court.

The Bulls became only the second eighth seed in NBA playoff history to win the first two games of a seven-game series on the road. Rondo has produced a staggering stat line through two games, averaging 11.5 points, 10.0 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals on 42.3 percent shooting from the field.

The 14 assists Rondo tallied in Game 2 tied a Bulls franchise playoff-record.

“Rondo was the key early in the game,” coach Hoiberg said postgame. “He got us good shots early to get us some confidence. That rubs off on all the other guys. He has been in big moments.”

Off misses, and even makes now, the Bulls are pushing the ball at a frantic pace, with Rondo leading the way. It helps that athletic wing players like Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and even rookie Paul Zipser are running with Rondo on the fast break. Often times in the regular season, Rondo would be eager to push the ball once he secured a rebound, but had no one accompanying him on the run.

The Bulls scored 14 fast break points in Game 2 and shot 51.1 percent from the floor. Rondo orchestrated everything Chicago did on offense.

Wade, who scored 22 points in Game 2, had nothing but strong praise for Rondo in his postgame presser, even saying that he once hated going up against Rondo because of how smart and fiery he is.

Per CSNChicago.com:

DWade: “That hate is that respect. When we played against Boston back in the day, he knew all the plays. He messes up your first option. And then he knows the second option. We [Miami] were just good enough to have a third option. He was that good.

I know what Rondo brings. As somebody who played against him. Now I get to experience it up close and personal, I f—— love it. Because he’s gonna make sure he’s prepared, the last guy on the bench is prepared. Coach is prepared, he’s gonna challenge everyone to be as prepared as he is. And when your point guard, your leader is prepared, we’re all prepared.”

In the regular season, the Chicago Bulls finished with an offensive rating of 107.4, 20th out of 30 teams. Hoiberg basically played musical chairs at the point guard spot all year, which didn’t allow the offense to develop a cohesive rhythm.

But when Rondo regained his starting job near the end of the season, the Bulls’ offense suddenly started operating more efficiently, and it has carried over to the playoffs.

The Bulls registered an offensive rating of 114.3 in Game 1 and followed that up with a 120.8 rating in Game 2. Not bad at all.

The Chicago Bulls will look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead on Friday at home. Rondo says it will be the biggest game of the season for the team.

“Game 3 is just one game, but it’s going to be our biggest game of the season,” Rondo said. “We want to approach it with that mindset and try to get another W. It’s one game at a time, one possession at a time.”

Ashish Mathur is an NBA writer at TheSportsBlaze. Follow him on Twitter — amathuropsn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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