The Boston Celtics have a 14-6 record since their star point guard Rajon Rondo tore his ACL, thus ending his season. Even though arguably their best player has been out, they’ve been able to win, largely because of the example set by and the leadership of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. However, Tuesday night proved that the Celtics can’t win when they are without Pierce, too.
The Celtics lost to the Charlotte Bobcats, the team with the worst record in the NBA, on Tuesday night by an embarrassing score of 100-74. The good thing for Boston is that Pierce is not injured and was just sitting out to rest. The bad thing for the Celtics is how unbelievably poor they played without Pierce in the lineup.
Without Pierce against the Bobcats, they shot just 40.9 percent from the field, were out-rebounded by 19, and notched just 15 assists. The most revealing of those statistics from Tuesday’s game is the low assists-total that Boston put up in the game.
Since Rondo has been only a member of the sidelines, the Celtics have turned into a team that shares the ball much more than they did with Rondo. They make the extra pass almost every play and work the ball around until they have a good shot. Boston is doing this because it’s what Pierce started doing and it’s what he tells them to do. When Pierce isn’t on the floor, that game-plan seems to disintegrate.
The NBA playoffs are just a little more than a month away and the Celtics are going to be a part of them. After Tuesday’s game, they realize that they need to have Pierce on the floor to have any kind of success. Given that, head coach Doc Rivers and the team’s front office needs to be wise in how they handle Pierce. He’s going to need to rest some games, but he also needs to stay fresh and keep Boston in contention. Finding this balance and keeping Pierce healthy will be vital to how their season eventually ends up.