by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

One of the enduring images of the 2010 NBA Finals is that of Kobe Bryant giving Rajon Rondo plenty of space to shoot his clunky jump shot.

It bordered on the ridiculous, as one of the L’s best players was left alone on an island, being dared to fire away.

Someone on the Mavs‘ coaching staff must’ve been paying attention last June, as Dallas basically did the same thing to Rajon last night in the game’s dying moments. The result: brick. Celtics defeat.

Afterward, Rondo’s team spun the miss as a positive, a sign that the young point guard is now willing to take huge shots, even when the chances of conversion aren’t in his favor.

From the Boston Globe:

“He’s wide open,’’ forward Paul Pierce said. “He was open two or three seconds before he even took it. We were begging him to shoot it. Hey, we’ll take that, a wide open look. Rondo, he’s showed he can make those shots, especially under pressure situations. I take it. I told him after the game, I’ll take that shot.’’

There is still stubbornness in Rondo, a refusal to acknowledge his jumper is a weakness. That teams are blatantly inviting him to shoot is a sign of disrespect for his perimeter game. Teammate Jermaine O’Neal said recently that once Rondo develops a jumper, much like what has been said about Derrick Rose and about Jason Kidd 10 years ago, his game will be impeccable.

Rondo would like to think it’s impeccable now. The white elephant in his mental living room is that darn jumper. It’s improving, but it’s not yet there. It’s there in practice. It has been there during stretches this season, but until he knocks it down with consistency, he will be left alone.“The options were all taken away and I was open and I took the shot,’’ he said. “I was open, so I am going to take it if they give it to me. I got a lot of confidence in it. I thought it was good. I got my feet set, got a good look.’’

Celtics fans can take comfort in the fact that Rondo says he’s confident in taking the outside jumper, though last night, it might not have appeared that way.

Until Rajon proves that he can make the outside shot — especially with games on the line — defenses will continue to smartly leave him alone out there.