Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/1/13
BOSTON — Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa were working at a feverish pace, driving to the hole and firing shots with abandon, when a timeout brought a momentary reprieve from the chaos. “What are we running?” they asked Doc Rivers on the bench. “I have no idea,” the coach replied. Whatever it was, it was working. That was enough for Rivers. For the third straight game, the Celtics’ healthy guards stepped up in Rajon Rondo‘s absence and helped deliver a victory to the cheering mass on Causeway Street. “We kind of let them play,” Rivers said after the Celtics’ 97-84 win over the Orlando Magic. “Just go out and space the floor and play, and play through it. I think Jason loves to play that way. L.B. clearly likes to play that way, and they just read each other extremely well.” Terry and Barbosa’s syncopation might never have been discovered if Rondo had not torn his ACL. Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley might never have gotten enough floor time together to turn into the relentless defensive duo they have shown themselves to be in the last week. The Celtics are careful to say they are not better without Rondo, but so far their foursome of impact guards is playing to prove the drop-off is not as great as everyone assumed it would be. For the second straight game, six players scored in double figures for the Celtics. Jeff Green was the high man this time with just 17 points for the suddenly fearsome bench, which also produced 12 points each by Terry and Barbosa. Lee tied for the scoring high among Boston’s starters with 14 points as the Celtics’ first- and second-unit backcourts combined for 44 points. “The ball’s moving and everybody’s getting involved,” Lee said. “We’ve got to play that way without Rondo, because Rondo was the playmaker. That’s one thing he’s good at, making plays for himself and others, but with him down, we’ve got to make up for that. We all have to make plays and also make plays for each other.” Now that Jared Sullinger has joined Rondo on the shelf for the rest of the season, the challenge facing Boston’s backcourt is more complicated. No longer is this just a matter of the guards or a few frontcourt wing players like Green and Paul Pierce sharing Rondo’s ballhandling responsibilities. The guards now need to help out up front as well, giving extra support on the glass and defending bigger players in smaller Celtics lineups. Lee, the most adaptable of the group, had his versatility stretched to its limits against the Magic. In addition to his 14 points, he finished with five rebounds and five assists, all in between chasing J.J. Redick around screens at the defensive end. “I’m asking a lot of him,” Rivers said. “He started the game bringing the ball up at point, then he’s guarding J.J. Redick, and then at one point he was at the three [small forward]. Honestly, everyone on our team’s going to have to do that every night.” Since the Celtics re-emerged as a championship contender under Rivers six years ago, one of the few criticisms directed their way is that they were too deliberate. They were too predictable. They were too conventional. Out of necessity, now they are anything but those things. What are they now? They have no idea. But so far it is working. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Odell Beckham Jr. is not intimidated of Darrelle Revis

Chargers say Seahawks DE took cheap shot at Philip Rivers

Rex Ryan jabs Jets for passing on Martavis Bryant?

Jay Gruden backing down from support of RG3 as starter

Ukwuachu rape victim hires firm that prosecuted Winston

Leo Santa Cruz tops Abner Mares in slugfest

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Beckham makes great grab over Revis

SEC commissioner wrote classy note to injured Arkansas RB

John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on course

Rex Ryan keeping Bills' starting quarterback a secret

Braves fan dies after falling from upper deck

Randall Cobb suffers shoulder injury vs. Eagles

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker