BOSTON - Give Rajon Rondo credit. He's not a very good liar.
Rondo picked up a technical foul in the second quarter when he came to the defense of Kevin Garnett after a hard foul by Ron Artest. Rondo quickly stepped in and pushed Artest but the burly Laker forward earned an Academy Award when he stumbled wildly into the first row of seats. The refs bought the act.
"I'm not that strong," said Rondo. "He's probably the strongest guy on the court in this series. I've been lifting a little bit, but other than that, I didn't push him that hard."
Asked why he stepped in to throw some muscle, Rondo didn't flinch. "Pretty self explanatory really. I felt that Kevin, that Artest pushed Kevin. It wasn't just a regular foul. We weren't going anywhere, so in Kevin's defense I pushed him back."
Rondo put together one of his typical, all-around dynamic efforts in Boston's 92-86 win in Game Five of the Finals. He strung up 18 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. He was also involved in the game-clinching play. With a 87-82 lead and 38 seconds left, the Celtics were inbounding the ball near mid-court. Doc Rivers had Kevin Garnett pass the ball in and look for either Rondo or Paul Pierce.
He found Pierce but only as he was leaning towards the sidelines. Pierce steadied himself just long enough to catch and pass to a streaking Rondo, something the team's captain later called his ``Randy Moss and my Tom Brady all in one play."
Rondo converted a tricky reverse layup instead of pulling the ball out and running the clock. "I thought I had an easy lay up," he said. "They thought it was difficult, but I thought I had an easy look at the rim."