LeBron James spoke of the “intangibles” Rajon Rondo brings to the Lakers after the veteran guard produced a dominant outing Sunday night to mark his return to form and fitness.
Rondo had 10 points, nine assists and five steals off the bench in top-seeded LA’s series-leveling 117-109 win over the Rockets. The Western Conference semifinal is now tied 1-1.
James highlighted Rondo’s overall influence, which the Lakers have missed since he suffered a thumb injury in practice in July. Rondo was making just his second appearance in the Orlando bubble.
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“I think he was just extremely aggressive, not only offensively, but defensively — taking the challenge on James [Harden], taking the challenge on whoever he was guarding. Just trying to lead,” said James, who had 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
“I mean, that’s what ‘Do [Rondo] is. He’s a leader. And for us to have him back in the postseason, it’s a key for our team. He comes in, he pushes the tempo, he gets guys involved and that doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet.
“The intangibles that he does both offensively and defensively — his nose is always around the ball and he just makes plays for us, and tonight was another example of that.”
The Lakers switched things up after their 112-97 loss in Game 1, and James said the changes showcased the team’s versatility.
“We built the team to be able to play in different ways and to be able to play big vs. teams, to be able to play small, to be able to play in between,” he said. “We built that from the beginning and we have that, always had that, in our toolbox.”