It was assumed that the Boston Celtics would lay down and die after Rajon Rondo was lost for the season. However, the Celtics instead produced a seven game winning streak that kept them safely in the top eight in the east. Why are the Celtics playing so well in spite of losing one of their best players?
Everyone Has To Step Up
On some teams, there is one great player who everyone else stands around watching all night. When that player goes down, everyone else suddenly realizes that they have to get their heads back into the game. The Celtics look like a team that is playing as a group instead of letting one guy create all of the plays. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have been playing inspired ball since Rondo went down.
The Schedule Has Been Favorable
The Celtics have not been playing the greatest teams in the NBA of late. While you can’t fault a team for playing their schedule, you can’t gush over beating teams like Toronto, Sacramento and Orlando. Additionally, several of those wins have come against west coast teams making the trip to Boston. West coast teams rarely do well on the east coast. These factors have certainly worked to their advantage.
They Have Won Without Rondo In The Past
Most experts seem to forget that the Celtics have won plenty of games without Rondo in the past. In fact, he was at one time seen as their weak link. Looking at the Celtics’ statistics this season, they still have four guys on the roster averaging more than 10 points a game. Paul Pierce is averaging a little over four assists a game and Kevin Garnett is shooting almost 50 percent from the floor this season. Teams that have won in the past always know what it takes to rally after they have faced adversity.
The Depth For Boston Comes In Handy
Boston has 10 players who have averaged over 10 minutes per game. That means that when a starter needs a rest, a capable reserve option is available to play. When a team can stay fresh, it is usually going to be able to win games that are close in the fourth quarter. With an older roster, it is important that there are a lot of role players who can spell the likes of Pierce and Garnett.
Can They Keep It Up?
It will be interesting to see if the Celtics can keep this up. It was rumored that Garnett may be headed to the Clippers at the trade deadline. However, it would have been foolish to get rid of one of the few star players on the roster. For Boston to continue their winning ways, they will need to continue to emphasize the team concept that they have been playing with. Coach Doc Rivers may deserve coach of the year if he can keep them together.
You can never count a team out. This is even more true when that team has experience, poise and leadership. What looked like a lost season will at least culminate in a playoff berth and the chance to perhaps upset a team in the first round. However, there is still a lot that can happen between now and April.