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These guys still have something to prove.
I'm not for one second going to argue that the Celtics are a better team without Rajon Rondo.  But there are some numbers that suggest Doc Rivers may have known what he was talking about when he said "You can write our obituary. I'm not."

Boston was 18-20 in games Rondo played this season, and they are 3-3 so far without him.  Over the past 4 seasons the Celtics are 145-95 (a .604 winning percentage) when Rondo plays, and 21-13 (.618) when he does not.

This year their efficiency rankings have actually been slightly better when Rondo was not on the floor; 99.2 on offense (points scored per 100 possessions) and 100.5 on defense (points allowed per 100 possessions) for a difference of -1.3 with Rondo on the court vs. 100.4/offense and 100.0/defense (+0.4) with Rondo off the court.

Now let's put the stats aside and look at this from a philosophical point of view.  The way things were going it was very very unlikely Boston was going to win an NBA title this year.  This season was headed towards early playoff elimination, followed by questions of underachievement and failed potential.  But, now the expectations are gone.  Any success this team may have from here on out can be viewed as overachieving.  Much of the year has been filled with discouraging losses, but now their is an opportunity for inspiring victories.

While none of them are traditional point guard options, the Celtics do have an abundance of depth in the backcourt.  Maybe the loss of their floor general with inspire others to step up their game.  While trying to defend their title back in 2008-09, Kevin Garnett was lost to a season ending injury.  That team banded together and still played very well without him, finishing the regular season 8-1, and taking a 3-2 lead on Orlando before succumbing to the eventual Eastern Conference Champions in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

I don't see any reason why the Celtics as currently constructed can't compete with the Bucks or Hawks for the 6th or 7th seed.  Would anybody be scared of a first round matchup with the Knicks?  Don't forget that arguably Boston two best wins all season have come without Rondo; Sunday against the Heat, and three weeks ago in New York.

And if that's not enough to keep you watching, we also never know when Jeff Green will throw down another one of these:



Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan

Mark Vandeusen 1/29/2013 12:24:00 AM Edit
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