It almost feels like yesterday that Rajon Rondo was helping the Boston Celtics win a championship, performing at an elite level in each game of the playoffs. After short stints with the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings, everyone thought that we would never see that version of Rondo again. Even during the regular season with the Chicago Bulls, Rondo looked uncomfortable with his surrounding and underperformed. During the season, he averaged 7.8 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.1 rebounds.

Rondo’s playoffs performance

In two playoff games, Rondo has instantly raised his level of play, averaging 11.5 points, 10 assists, and 8.5 rebounds, helping the Bulls gain a 2-0 series lead over the first-seeded Celtics.

What has suddenly elevated Rondo’s level of play? Perhaps he wants revenge on his former team.

The Bulls are pulling things together at the right time. Dwyane Wade has finally realized that he has to play off of Jimmy Butler like he did in Miami with LeBron James, and the role players are being extremely consistent.

However, in the middle of everything has been Rondo, who put together 11 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds, and five steals in Game 2 to lead the Bulls past the Celtics for a second straight time. Rondo had a hand in almost everything on Tuesday night, controlling the game right from the beginning. It’s not that the Celtics and Rondo parted on bad terms, but the idea of beating his old team as the underdog has the four-time All-Star incredibly focused.

“I’m just given the opportunity, going out and playing hard for my teammates,” Rondo said about his recent play at the TD Garden.

Chicago's season in a nutshell

At one point, Wade was reportedly unhappy with the team and was thinking of leaving. Then, the Bulls were trying to actively trade Rondo. Butler also called out his teammates for lack of effort, and he, too, was on the trading block.

Towards the end of the season, Wade injured his elbow and was considered out for the season. Rondo was also expected to miss extended time with injury.

However, Wade came back just before the end of the regular season, Rondo returned to play in the post-season, and now the Bulls are gelling at the perfect time. Whether Rondo is trying to get revenge or just simply playing at a higher level because it’s the playoffs, Chicago seems to have figured some things out and is shattering expectations so far.

In the eyes of basketball fans, Rondo is certainly out there to make a statement in beating his former team.