The Boston Celtics were 4-8 and struggling. The offense was lost most of the time as the Celtics failed to have any rhythm. The troubling part is the team failed to crack 80 points in a vast majority of the games after some wretched starts that saw the team fail to score even 40 points at the half. The offense looked like they were going to take another hit as star point guard Rajon Rondo went down with a wrist injury.
The great news for Boston was not only did the offense not sink, but it thrived with Paul Pierce taking a staring role. Pierce would take over the ball handling duties and the offense has found an identity. Pierce would look for his offense and then get his teammates involved. Pierce has recorded double digits in assists during this stretch as he has done a masterful job getting guys like Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus involved in the offense by driving to the basket, drawing the defense, and then hitting the open man.
The result is Pierce and the Celtics have flourished as the team has won four in a row and five of their last six. The Celtics have also scored over 90 points a game during this winning streak. The sudden improvement also comes without Ray Allen the last few games due to an ankle sprain. The success has left many to wonder if Rondo has all of a sudden become expendable.
The answer to that is yes and no. I truly believe the Celtics new offense is tremendous with Pierce having the ball in his hands most of the time. Any offense is better when their best offensive player has the ball. One can win a title with the offense going through a player like Pierce. People forget that in 08, Pierce ran a lot of the offense due to Rondo’s inexperience. That team did a tremendous job scoring on the offensive end.
The problem is Pierce is older than he was in 08. There are no guarantees that he can keep this kind of play up before either wearing down or getting hurt. The Celtics will need a player like ROndo that can carry the offensive load of both scoring and setting the offense. This means that maybe those looking to deal Rondo for another scorer or center should not be rushing for that move just yet.
The bottom line is the Celtics are playing better with Pierce running the show. However, how long can Pierce stay healthy and fresh? The other factor is now that KG and Pierce have their legs back and the team added Mickael Pietrus, how much better will Rondo be with all his toys ready and in place. The Celtics are getting better and adding Rondo to go along with Pierce will only make them better.