Who needs Rondo? Who needs Sullinger? The Celtics certainly don’t when they are playing an injury riddled Magic team. The Celtics, sans two impact players or any semblance of urgency, were still able to dominate the Magic. Even Jeff Green and Courtney Lee looked blasé on their thunderous dunks. The Celtics’ nonchalant style of play didn’t hurt them until the 3rd quarter, when the Magic somehow cut the Celtics lead to just three. Doc Rivers called a timeout just a little over three minutes into the second half to berate his players for the lack of effort. “[Doc] called a timeout and got on us a little bit,” explained Courtney Lee. “[He] told us, ‘stop winding down, this game’s not over yet, 48 minutes, finish it out.’ We got back out there and was [sic] able to get stops and execute.” And they certainly did. By the time the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, the C’s lead had ballooned to 13.
This game served as a reminder that the Celtics made the right decision in cutting ties with E’Twaun Moore. Don’t get me wrong. Moore is an intriguing young player who has played well when given minutes. However, he would be playing big minutes for the Celtics right now instead of Leandro Barbosa. Who would you rather have, Moore or Barbosa?
The Celtics scored 56 points in the paint tonight, which is WAYYYYYY up from their average of 39. The Celtics rank 26th overall in terms of scoring points in the painted area. Tonight, they had as many as the league leader, the Denver Nuggets, average. Unfortunately, this can’t be indicative of the post-Rondo and Sullinger roster. It was undoubtedly a factor of the porousness of the Magic’s defense.
Speaking of the post-Rondo/Sullinger Celtics, the overall feeling of the boxscore is likely what we’re going to see going forward. The C’s had six players in double figures, and Paul Pierce had double-digit rebounds. While it’s unlikely we’ll consistently see totals like that, the success of the C’s is likely to hinge on balance. This just doesn’t feel sustainable. The two blowout wins are likely more indicative of catching bad teams at right times than evidence of the C’s being better without Rondo and Sully. Either way, it should be a wild ride on the way to finding out.
This game could have been a lot closer had the Celtics not capitalized off Magic miscues. The C’s finished the game forcing 15 turnovers and turning those into 20 points. It’s these points that stretch leads, keep momentum, and are the difference between a five point lead and a ten point lead.