Breaking news: the Celtics look old. Actually, they don’t just look old — they are old. Keep in mind that this is a team that no longer cares about proving itself in the regular season. For the past few years, Boston has coasted through the regular season and picked up the tempo come playoff time. A lot of veteran teams do the same thing. Still, it is tough to ignore their flaws. Boston is 4-5, has had trouble stopping good offenses, and has struggled to score against poor teams. Aside from Rajon Rondo, consistent play has been lacking. That is why both Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett realize the team now belongs to Rondo.
“This is his team right now,” Rivers said Wednesday after the Celtics lost to the Mavericks, according to CSNNE.com. “Rondo’s just playing terrific. And we’ve got to allow him to be terrific. We shouldn’t get in his way.”
“Rajon is amazing, period,” Garnett added. “You talk about big things are coming; big things are here. Rajon is keeping us alive every night. We just have to make sure we follow his lead, and follow his effort, and we’re going to turn this thing around.”
Rondo scored 24 points and dished out seven assists, but the rest of the team — particularly the Big Three — looked flat. With the exception of maybe Ray Allen, Rondo is the only player who has showed up every night. We wondered a couple of weeks ago if his play would be enough to carry the Celtics, and it looks like Rivers and the rest of the team are counting on that being the case. If you ask Jason Terry, Rondo is the only one playing with energy.
At this point, Boston is in desperate need of youth. Rondo can provide some of that, but if the Celtics start showing their age more and more as the season progresses it will hardly be enough. Rondo is no longer a guy who has become an All-Star because of who he is playing alongside. Instead, he is Boston’s pulse.