Found February 03, 2013 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
Going forward this season, Lee and Terry will continue to be essential pieces to the Celtics success With the trade deadline looming, the Boston Celtics wins are coming at the right time.  Winners of 3 straight, heading into Sundays matinee with the LA Clippers, the Celtics find themselves back at .500 (23-23) while exhibiting a new look of continuity on offense.  While the offensive flow has come against 2 of the worse teams in the league, today’s game should provide a proper gauge to the Celtics recent success. Before the game today it’s imperative to consider the recent onslaught of injuries that the Celtics have endured over the past week.  It has been downright impressive how they have strung together this mini-winning streak.  After losing all-star guard Rajon Rondo to a season ending ACL injury, in a game that I called a must-have moral victory, they went out and beat the defending-champion Miami Heat in double OT.  With a 100-98 final, the game resembled a true clashing of two of the Eastern Conference perennial powers: one fading, while one still atop the conference. The victory led me to the first of two revelations I’ve had about the Celtics over the past 7 days.  The first of which is that they don’t care who’s injured, or not playing, they’re still going all out and pushing for a title (as evidenced by Garnett’s 45 mins—the most he’s ever played in a Celtic uniform).  They know this is their last hurrah.  They know that there is no other time than now.  At least for that one game, it seemed, the urgency and the defense was there! And then, one game turned into two.  Just when it seemed all offensive hope was lost when #9 went down, the Celtics went on a scoring spree against the Sacramento Kings. On Wednesday, they put together a second quarter, which left many thinking “Rondo who?” The C’s enjoyed their highest scoring quarter of the season, 37 points, while moving the ball up and down the floor several times without taking a single dribble. At one point, they were 14/14 from the field and were getting such easy looks at the basket that Tommy Heinsohn started referencing the good ole days. That’s what led me to revelation number two: They C’s have the pieces.  Combine Courtney Lee, and Avery Bradley and you have a formidable duo in pressuring the opposing teams guards into turnovers and late shot-clock execution.  Leandro Barbosa can come off the bench and flat out score the basketball, and Jeff Green finally looks like he’s ready to contribute with some authority around the rim.  With these components starting to click, along with Jason Terry, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing some serious continuity within the offense. Its only been 3 games thus far, but its scary to think that Rondo’s absence may actually be helping the offense I know it’s only a small sample size, after the Orlando W, but it isn’t as if all these role players started finally playing the type of basketball we expected of them, right? We all knew that each of the aforementioned were proven veterans in the league and it was only a matter of time, right?  If those two statements are true, then what was it that was making them so d%*# enigmatic? My theory is this: Rondo dominated the ball on offense.  While I am expressing cautious optimism because there have only been three games since Rajon’s injury, it is without question that the PG primarily dominated the Boston offense.  That’s why the adage is “as Rondo goes so do the Celtics.”  Well, now that he is no longer in the picture, it is becoming a necessity that other players get touches on the offense end, as the offense is more spread.  Designed plays, usually for one player, touch 3-4 different sets of hands before the ball arrives at its destination.  This type of offense is conducive to the skills of the players comprised on Boston’s roster.  Jeff Green can move off the catch and get to the basket, Terry can create off the dribble and pull up for a jumper, and Lee can athletically power smaller opposing guards to the bucket as well as shoot the midrange and 3-ball.  These are all players who wouldn’t have the ball in their hands while Rondo simply pounded it into the court for 10-15 seconds a possession.  The absence of Rondo has created a system in which they are forced to step up/create and they have yet to disappoint. When it comes down to it, the Celtics have their work cut out for them.  With the news that Sullingers back gave way, the Celtics are forced to move on without their best rebounder; however they will most definitely add another two players over the coming weeks, and may even be a little active come the trading deadline.  All told, GM Danny Ainge knows better than to blow it up at this point. Paul Pierce and KG aren’t letting this team go down without a fight, and this team has shown in the past that it can rise to the occasion no matter how tall the task. If the rest of the season unfolds as the last three games have, and the starters/bench continue to play their respective roles, this team could make some serious noise in the playoffs.
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