Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith bring a close relationship to postseason series

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From The Boston Herald…

Something about the girl immediately hit Josh Smith, like the thunderbolt that struck Michael Corleone the moment he saw the beautiful Apollonia.

Smith and his new best friend, Rajon Rondo, had just walked into a Louisville store owned by former Kentucky and NBA star Derek Anderson, and he was entranced. But Smith was also too shy to approach her, so he goaded Rondo.

Go on, do me this favor. But Rondo was even shier, and they left the store after a lot of looks and maybe a nod, but not one word.

Rondo had come home for the senior prom at his old high school — Eastern — and Smith tagged along. It was an opportunity to see Rondo’s hometown, eat his mother’s cooking, and just generally become part of the extended Rondo family.

They both returned to Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy, where Rondo and Smith had transferred for their senior years. They were a dynamic pair — Smith the impossibly skilled big forward expected to skip college for the NBA, and Rondo the sleeper prospect, good at stealing attention once scouts arrived to chart his celebrity teammate.

Smith was drafted 17th by Atlanta in the 2004 NBA draft, and Rondo went to the University of Kentucky, where he met his longtime fiancee, Ashley Bachelor.

So one day Smith got a call.

“You’ll never guess who I’m talking to now,” Rondo said in that teasing manner of his.

Her name was Alexandria Lopez, and she was Ashley’s friend.

“I told him to call this girl and try to connect us. I’ve always been there for him for doing that,” Smith said earlier this week.

The wedding was held on July 31, 2010, in College Park, Ga., and it was a TMZ-worthy event. Dwight Howard, Smith’s former AAU teammate, was Best Man. Rondo was a groomsman. There were lots of pictures all over the Internet.

There is now a prominent link between the Smith and Rondo families, with a College Park/Atlanta branch and a Louisville branch. Sometimes it seems the friendship between Smith and Rondo is connected by an invisible USB cable, sharing information and even behavior.

The strongest bond

“We hang out. Last summer we spent some time in LA,” said Rondo. “We just have a lot of similarities. We like the same things. We got the same car. He didn’t tell me what he was getting and I didn’t tell him what I was getting, but it ended up that way — the same car.”

Smith smiled.

“Yeah, that would have been the Range Rover,” he said.

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