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Rajon Rondo says Bulls would have swept Celtics had he not had thumb injury

Rajon Rondo

With a cast on his right thumb, Chicago Bulls’ Rajon Rondo, center, sits on the bench during Game 3 of the team’s NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics in Chicago, Friday, April 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


Led by “playoff Rondo,” the Chicago Bulls had swept the first two games against Boston in Boston and were heading home seemingly in control of the series. Chicago’s length was giving Boston’s offense problems, and the inconsistent shooting of the Bulls had been on.

But Rajon Rondo fractured his thumb in Game 2, so he had a courtside seat the next four games as Boston stormed back and won the series.

That injury came up when Rondo joined Kevin Garnett and the rest of the 2008 Celtics in the Area 21 segment on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” Here’s the exchange, via

Charles Barkley asked Rondo how frustrated he was to see the Bulls “dominating the Celtics and then get hurt.”

“It was very frustrating, especially the way we were clicking at the time,” Rondo said. “We had a good chemistry going and I thought we were making great adjustments.”

Then Perkins and Garnett asked Rondo if he thought the Bulls would sweep Boston if Rondo didn’t get hurt.

Rondo’s response: “Honestly, yeah.”

And here’s the video (this conversation starts at about 1:40.

I understand why Rondo thinks this, but I also think Boston might well have gotten its act together and made this a more interesting series. That said, the Rondo injury opened the door — because the Bulls had a serious lack of depth at the point — and the Celtics burst through it and took advantage. Without the Rondo injury, coming all the way back would have been tougher, and Boston wouldn’t have won four in a row.

Rondo will be back with the Bulls next season. So will coach Fred Hoiberg. After that, who knows.