When Rajon Rondo went down with a torn knee ligament, many people (including me) thought that the Boston Celtics’ season was over. To make matters worse, Jared Sullinger had a season ending back surgery. They were 20-23 and on the downswing. This team needed a change, and in spite of the injuries, the Celtics are now displaying heart. Doc Rivers was flustered by his team’s effort on the defensive and offensive ends. Most people blamed the players for their lack of effort and there was a lack of leadership in the locker room. The players had become used to being called “too old” and “too injured” to compete for an NBA title. Now, without their all-star point guard and playmaker, the Celtics are on a seven game winning streak. They are showing that they care, and they play strong every moment they are on the court.
With the losses of Rajon Rondo and emerging rookie Jared Sullinger for the season, this team got their act together. There are four reasons why the Celtics are all of a sudden on a seven game win streak.
- The first reason is that they care. The players on the bench are like cheerleaders whenever something goes well for the Celtics. The players fight for everything on the court and never take anything for granted. They are always there for a teammate who needs their help.
- D-FENSE. The Celtics are finally playing it. Rajon Rondo was known for his steals, but this season opposing point guards were consistently beating him off the dribble. The comeback of Avery Bradley has given this defense a sense of life. Everyone is now diving on the floor for loose balls and trusting the other men on the team for help. Big men have used their fouls wisely, making sure there are no free layups or dunks for the opposing team.
- The bench has finally shown up to games. I find this rather peculiar, because Courtney Lee, a bench player, is forced to start, taking away a valuable bench player. Jeff Green is finally becoming the player that the Celtics had hoped for when they traded away fan favorite Kendrick Perkins and the energetic Nate Robinson. Jeff is attacking the rim and throwing down some monstrous dunks. He is playing with confidence both on the offensive and defensive ends. Another valuable player off the bench is Jason Terry. The ex-Maverick has a deadly outside shot and it is finally going in. Jet is taking full advantage of the extra minutes, averaging 11.3 points a game and 1.6 three pointers during this seven game win streak.
- Lastly, the old fellows are showing that they still have some gas left in the tank. In a recent triple overtime win against the Nuggets, Paul Pierce played 54 minutes and Kevin Garnett played 47. Paul Pierce is showcasing his talents in the point forward department, and Kevin is fighting hard in the trenches. Since Rondo’s injury, Garnett is averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds per game. He is giving no opposing player any breathing room down low. Paul Pierce is averaging a league leading 11.1 assists per game after the injuries. With two triple-doubles in this streak (against the Nuggets and Heat), he is displaying his all around ability. The “Truth” may be 34 years old, but he is playing like he’s 25.
Some analysts are saying that the Celtics are better without Rondo, but that is not true. They are playing harder without him, which has translated into victories. If they had played like this with him, a championship wasn’t that much of a stretch. If everything keeps going smoothly, the Celtics could be looking at an Eastern Finals Conference appearance, and you never know, some crazier things have happened on the parquet floor.
Info Credit: ESPN