Originally written February 04, 2013 on Atlantic Twine:
The Boston Celtics find a way to survive to close down the 15-point run from the Los Angeles Clippers late in the fourth quarter 106-103 Sunday. Doc Rivers’ team played outstanding. With that, let’s not waste any time and get down to the nitty and gritty of this contest. No Rondo? No problem: Photo by Brian Babineau/Getty Images The Celtics may be playing without their All-Star point guard, who ended his 2012-13 season with a torn ACL, but their fourth straight win shows the resiliency of Rondo’s absence. Boston’s guards have been tremendous to say the least. Many would say Boston is better without Rondo. And it is becoming a verity by the minute with the way Doc Rivers’ team is playing. Led by Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa, the Celtics are embracing the run-heavy offensive sets. Despite the low production Sunday, Bradley has averaged 8.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in the past 10 games. Courtney Lee’s presence was known with Rondo, but now he shines with versatility. Lee posted seven points and two rebound in the win, and has averaged 9.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in the previous 10 contests. Barbosa and Terry have been immensely vital in Doc Rivers’ system from shooting the three ball and on-ball defense. When in doubt, go to The Truth: Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images Paul Pierce’s production as of late has been lacking, but in Sunday’s matchup he dialed up just what the doctor ordered. With 2.5 seconds left in the game –in a three-point cushion– the Boston Celtics had no choice but go to their clutch shooter, Paul Pierce. More than often No. 34 takes and makes clutch shots and Sunday he did not disappoint rose up from three to give Celtics a five-point lead. Not only did Pierce supply a big shot down the stretch, but the 35-year-old pro brought a heavy contribution Boston desperately needed. The longtime Celtic finished with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists. It’s safe to say Pierce is the Celtics’ commander and will continue to be the go-to player in desperate settings. Chris Wilcox’s enormous presence: Photo by Elsa/Getty Images After Jared Sullinger suffered a season-ending back injury, there was little hope for front court within Doc Rivers’ team. That was until Chris Wilcox, who was ailing from a sprained thumb, was called upon right after his return to the 2012-13 season. Wilcox hasn’t been posting a double-double, but he is giving the green team a little sign of comfort when Kevin Garnett needs a breather. On Sunday, the 10-year power forward tallied for four points and one rebound. His stats may not be advertising, but his capabilities off the box score have been huge whether it is defensive positioning or setting screens for Jason Terry and company. Whether or not Wilcox can sustain productivity game-in and game-out will be the x-factor closing out the first half of basketball on a positive note. Boston will take a journey to Canada to play Rudy Gay and the reformed Toronto Raptors Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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