Superficially, it probably seems like a fluke that the Boston Celtics are 8-1 since losing Rajon Rondo to a torn ACL, while losing Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa to injuries for the season as well. However, it’s not as fluky as some might think.
Boston expected sizeable contributions from bench players Jeff Green and Jason Terry coming into the season. However, for the first 43 games the Celtics played and while they had Rondo, those two players hadn’t really delivered on those expectations.
Green averaged just 14.7 points, 1.3 assists and five rebounds per 36 minutes and shot just 42.7 percent from the field over that time. Terry joined him in putting up unimpressive numbers, averaging only 12.7 points, 2.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds per 36 minutes, as well as shooting just 42.6 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from long-range.
Since the Rondo injury though, things have swung the opposite direction for the Celtics and Green and Terry. They’ve both been playing like many though they would at the beginning of the year.
In the nine games since Rondo’s injury, Green is averaging 16.3 points, 1.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per 36 minutes, and has improved his shooting percentage to 51.2 percent. Terry has shown even more improvement than Green, averaging 15.9 points, 4.2 assists and two boards per 36 minutes and shooting 51.2 percent from the field, and 40 percent from three in those nine games.
That’s pretty tremendous improvement from both of those guys. Because they’ve improved, Boston has been able to survive without their star point guard. Terry has taken on a larger role as a scorer and even a facilitator, and Green has continued to be solid defensively and on the boards while increasing his scoring.
If the Celtics want to continue to have relative success this season and potentially do some things in the NBA Playoffs, they have to continue to get this type of production from Green and Terry. It’s been a huge factor in keeping them afloat recently, and will continue to be just that in the last half of the season.