Rajon Rondo delivered an extraordinary playoff performance for the Boston Celtics, racking up 44 points against the Miami Heat, but still ended up on the losing side in a heartbreaking overtime loss on Wednesday.
Rondo was on court for the entire 53 minutes, scored all 12 of his team's overtime points, added 10 assists and eight rebounds but was unable to prevent a 115-111 loss as Boston fell 2-0 behind in the best-of-seven series.
It was enough, though, to earn him the praise of pretty much everyone who witnessed his tireless and inspired efforts in a career-best performance.
"Rondo was absolutely amazing," said Miami's LeBron James, whose 34 points were his seventh 30-point game this post-season.
"The performance he put on tonight will go down in the record books. He played the whole game, he made all the plays and tried to will his team to a victory.
"He showed why he is an All-Pro and one of the superstars in this league. He is a unique player, an unbelievable player and he gave everything that he had tonight".
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra focused his tactics on going under Rondo on pick-and-rolls but said the guard was almost impossible to contain.
"I have no idea, I'll be honest. We've tried almost everything with him and the conventional wisdom of saying he's got to beat you with the score, beat you with the jumpshot, beat you by not getting all the other guys going.
"They had only 15 assists and you would never think that he would have that kind of monster game. What it speaks to is his competitiveness; he's a competitor. He's a basketball player. Whatever that teams needs, he's going to do. Somehow we were able to withstand his incredible game," he said.
Celtics forward Paul Pierce felt for his team mate.
"He really played his heart out. He carried the load for us offensively. He shot the ball and did everything that we could have possibly asked for.
"You just hate to see an effort like that go to waste. He took everything they gave him. He's making them pay and that's what we need," he said.
Rondo though was not in the mood for joining in the eulogies of his performance.
"It's irrelevant. We lost. It's as simple as that," he said, before turning his thoughts to Friday's Game Three in Boston.
"The next two games are at home. We had two tough losses on the road. It's a seven-game series. We're playing well at home as of late so I'm looking forward to it".
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