It’s only a win over the Orlando Magic, and the Boston Celtics aren’t going anywhere anyhow. However, seeing Rajon Rondo shoot, move and pass like he did in the 96-89 has been one of the more pleasing moments for those following the team this season.
The excitement of Rondo having a 19 points, 10 assists afternoon might be a sign of just how terrible this season is in Boston, with a 16-33 record and finding it very difficult to avoid very long losing streaks, winning only four times since December 18. But that was the plan all along: Develop a team, and see who is ready to play with Rondo as the main part of this team as they go forward into a better future, as long as a trade is off the table.
Rondo shot a surprising 9-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-7 from outside the paint. He’s never been much of a mid-range or long-range shooter, as seen by his 25% from the field since coming back when taking shots from outside the paint. This isn’t a change in his M.O., but Rondo did pull off something that only Dave Cowens ever did in Celtics uniform: 19 points, 10 assists, 3 steals while shooting 80% or better from the field.
We didn’t stop pushing the pace even though we had the lead. We finally finished a game strong. They made a run at it, but at the end of the day we still got some stops when we needed and made the plays. I think we execute a little crisper. The ball seems to have found the right guys a lot, especially today. I think that’s more of guys getting used to playing with one another.
When Rondo plays this well, it doesn’t matter what kind of talent level is around him: He makes others better. Jared Sullinger led the team with 21 points and 12 boards, while Brandon Bass helped in the paint and with his mid-range shooting, adding 19 and 9 rebounds. The interior defense from the Celtics has been somewhat of a famous joke around the NBA this season, but offensively there’s what to work with if there’s a point guard good enough to make everything come together.
The Celtics shot 50% from the field and if it wasn’t for Jeff Green who was completely out of sync with the rest of the team, showing once again that anyone hoping that his extraordinary talent will become something that shines on a consistent basis was way off target, the Celtics would have had their entire starting lineup at 50% or better each.
There’s nothing new for the Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo is doing well, and so is Nikola Vucevic when he’s actually healthy. Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo are only here till a better offer comes along, for the team or for the players, while the bench is completely replaceable. Both teams are just above rock bottom in the Eastern conference without much of hope to get anywhere this season. Unlike the Magic, with a healthy and hopefully fully operational Rondo, their rebuilding process isn’t going to be taking too long.