Rajon Rondo gave up on guarding Jamal Murray in NBA bubble: ‘Come here Bron’

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rajon Rondo revealed that he gave up on defending Denver Nuggets star guard Jamal Murray during the 2020 Western Conference Finals — when Rondo was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers — which took place in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla. bubble.

“In the playoffs, that’s when to me — Murray went crazy,” Rondo said about facing off against Murray in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. “That’s when I was like, ‘Oh, this n—- for real.’ So, he went crazy on us. He destroyed us. We couldn’t check him. He had a move on me so f—— cold, man. Y’all got to find this clip. This in the bubble. He went — I feel like I got him, got him.

“Top of the key, I think iso, boom, he go to the cup. He drive left or something. He went up with his right hand. I contest that b—-. He flipped — switched it, threw it up with his left, hit that b—-.  I was like, ‘This n—- is — I can’t get him. Next, who next? I thought I can stop him. We need a big guard on him or something. Come here Bron (LeBron James) — come on.'”

Murray, who was just 22 years old back in the 2020 Western Conference Finals, arguably played the best basketball of any Nugget against Los Angeles. He led Denver in points (25.0) and assists (7.4) per contest while shooting 51.8 percent from the floor and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line.

But one area where Murray struggled versus the Lakers was from behind the 3-point line. For the series, he converted just nine of his 29 shots from deep, which equates to a 31 percent clip.

While Rondo may not have been able to shut down Murray, his contributions on the offensive end of the floor helped the Lakers eliminate the Nuggets in six games and reach the 2020 NBA Finals. The floor general averaged 7.6 points and 7.4 assists in 21.4 minutes per game off the Los Angeles bench.

Despite not starting a single game in the series, Rondo averaged the second-most assists per game of any member of the Lakers, behind only James, who averaged a team-high 9.0 assists per game.

After sending Murray and the Nuggets home, Rondo and the Lakers played Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The 38-year-old made his presence felt as a scorer, rebounder and passer in the championship series.

He suited up in all six games of the NBA Finals and averaged 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game on the league’s brightest stage. Additionally, in the deciding Game 6, Rondo lit up the scoreboard with 19 points while also contributing four rebounds, four assists and one steal.

Rondo won the second title of his NBA career in 2020, with the first of his pro career coming when he was a youngster playing for the Boston Celtics back in the 2007-08 campaign.

While Murray debatably got the better of Rondo from an individual standpoint in the Western Conference Finals, the latter arguably got the last laugh considering his team advanced and won the title.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.