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How The Celtics Are Playing Better Without Rajon Rando

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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.

New NBA Power Rankings on From The Sidelines Blog

We have launched our very own NBA power rankings. We are starting with a rankings by team and may do players by position during the course of a regular season. We decided to do it by year to give our readers an archive where they can look up past power rankings.

Go ahead and click here┬áto see our first set of rankings. Here’s a glimpse:

Top Five

1. San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are once again one of the best teams in the league. They are so good that their backups can give teams a run for their money.

2. Oklahoma City

Even without James Harden, the Thunder are still making noise in the west.

3. L.A. Clippers

If the Clippers get Garnett, they could make a serious run toward a championship this season.

4. Miami Heat

LeBron is making his case to be considered one of the best players ever. Scoring thirty points a game while shooting 60 percent from the floor in six straight games is ridiculous.

5. Denver Nuggets

Despite a three game losing streak, they still come into the all-star break at 7-3 in their last 10. They will be a sleeper team this season.

Click here to view the rest of the teams.

Why Are Tickets Priced So Low On StubHub For Several NBA Teams

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If you were looking for tickets to a Philadelphia 76ers game, you could have had seats for as little as 10 cents a couple of week ago. The same was also true in cities such as Washington and Sacramento. Fans of the Hawks, Bobcats and even the Bulls could have had tickets for less than what it would cost to buy lunch at Burger King. Why is this happening?

Lack Of A Competitive Product Hurts Ticket Prices

For fans of the Washington Wizards, there is a good reason why tickets are cheap. When your team is 3-19, why would you want to pay top dollar to see them play? The Sacramento Kings have been a terrible team for years and may even move at the end of the season. Likewise, the product in Philly was not looking so great when the season started. The good news for the Sixers is that they have started to find their winning ways again. That’s good because they were predicted to win a lot of games this year.

Weekday Games Are Hard To Attend

How do you explain low ticket prices for seats at a Bulls or Hawks game? Those teams have been perpetual winners over the last few years. Part of the reason is that attending a game during the week isn’t the easiest thing to do when you have to be at work early the next morning. If you have been drinking or otherwise taking part in festivities before or after the game, it can make it even tougher to get to work the next morning. Therefore, it may be easier to simply unload the tickets for whatever they will go for.

The Economy Is Not Doing Well

During a down economy, luxuries are often the first things to go. With so many people out of work, there are fewer people who are willing to pay $50 for tickets to a game. When you factor in the price of parking, food and drinks, it can easily become an experience that costs you over $100 if you go alone. If you bring your family to the game, it becomes even more expensive. Most families simply don’t have hundreds of dollars to watch a game.

Getting A Few Cents Is Better Than Giving The Tickets Away

Some people simply don’t feel good about just giving tickets away. If you have purchased tickets to a game or have season tickets, you want to get something for them if you have to eventually unload them. While it may only be a mental trick, at least you can feel good about yourself that you got some return on your investment as opposed to someone simply taking what is yours.

Tickets to a basketball game are still a prized commodity if you are a fan of a team such as the Heat or Lakers. However, if you are just a casual fan, you have plenty of games available to you at dirt cheap prices. It is the perfect opportunity to watch a professional game in person and perhaps even learn to appreciate the game of basketball.

NBA 2012: Who’s Hot And Who’s Not

The NBA is set to tip off its 2012-13 season on Oct. 30 when the Washington Wizards visit the Cleveland Cavaliers. While that may be a dubious official start to the season, there will be plenty of other fireworks elsewhere on opening night, including the Nets’ first game in Brooklyn and a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Though the Heat got past the Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder to take the league title in June, there are plenty of teams breathing down Miami’s neck with the intent of supplanting Lebron James and company in this season’s playoffs. Here is a look at some of the teams that could push the Heat and some who will likely take a tumble.

On The Rise

L.A. Lakers: The Lakers were unceremoniously bounced in the Western Conference semifinals in five games by the Thunder last season. So, what does a legendary franchise do when its time to bring in reinforcements? Get two of the best players in the league in Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Nash will help smooth out the troubles the Lakers had at point guard last season while Howard will team with Pau Gasol for a dominant pairing inside. Plus, Kobe Bryant’s back after Team USA’s gold medal triumph in London this summer. If this team can gel quickly, this could be a record-breaking year for the gold and purple.

L.A. Clippers: Not to be outdone, the Lakers cross-town rival scored big free-agent acquisitions in former Laker Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford and veteran Chauncey Billups. Plus, point guard Chris Paul has another season of working with Blake Griffin. The Clippers are finally learning to build a team, a mentality that could result in a challenge to the Lakers, Thunder and San Antonio spurs for supremacy in the West.

Toronto Raptors: The Raptops challenged the Charlotte Bobcats as the league’s worst team last season, but there are several reasons for optimism in Toronto. While the team did not add any superstars in the offseason, it did well in the draft by bringing in Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptops are not going to challenge the East’s best, but they should show vast improvement.

On The Decline

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls were the top seed in last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs. However, team MVP Derrick Rose suffered a devastating injury in the opening round series against the Philadephia 76ers and the team never recovered. Rose’s injury is going to keep him out for much of the regular season, meaning that the pressure lies on Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng to keep the team in contention until he returns. Chicago’s first test without Rose was not successful, so it looks doubtful that the Bulls can repeat as the top regular-season team in the East.

Philadelphia 76ers: The team that bounced the Bulls in the playoffs got some bad news of its own in the offseason, as two of the team’s best players, Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, both went elsewhere in the offseason, leaving the team to lean on former Laker Andrew Bynum to succeed. The Sixers are a defensive-minded team, so they may be able to stay in the playoff hunt, but they may not be able to build on the promise they showed in the playoffs.

Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs are starting to show their age. Scoring machine Dirk Nowitzki had offseason knee surgery and will miss some of the regular season. Unfortunately, Dallas will likely struggle to make up those points, as Jason Terry joined the Celtics this summer.The Mavs barely made the playoffs last season, and prospects of returning this season are not good.