Gordon Hayward broken

NBA All-Star forward Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific-looking broken left ankle on Tuesday, less than six minutes into his first game for the Boston Celtics. Hayward, acquired by the Celtics from the Utah Jazz in the off-season, came down hard after a leaping cut to the basket to try to catch an alley-oop pass from former Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. Continue reading “Celtics forward Hayward suffers horrifying leg injury”

Tom Brady

It was a bit of a slap in the face. And as Isaiah Thomas noted in his letter on The Players Tribune, when the Boston Celtics decided to ship him off to Cleveland in order to land Kyrie Irving, “it stung a little.” After all, Thomas had poured his heart and soul into the Celtics and… Continue reading “Here’s what Tom Brady reportedly told Isaiah Thomas after he was traded from the Boston Celtics”

The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked many pundits and draft analysts last night by choosing Anthony Bennett as the top overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. While many considered this year’s draft to be a weaker draft, that’s a bit of a misnomer; most drafts don’t bring in elite stars, but rather bring in several solid players, several players who will ultimately be journeymen and role players, and quite a few players who won’t be in the league after five years. This is true every year, so why the 2013 draft would be considered significantly weaker is just conjecture.

At any rate, this draft is the last for commissioner David Stern, who won’t be missed, and leaves a league that is rife with unprofitable teams and a business structure based on a few players rather than solid team properties like every other league in the world. During Stern’s tenure, the NBA has limped along with weak profit margins – while the NFL’s profit margin has exploded over the $1 billion mark, and Major League Baseball has almost half a billion, the NBA is just around $183 million in profit (on $4.1 billion in revenue…you have to work really hard to lose that much margin, but Stern has managed to do it), just barely ahead of the NHL. Despite so many people writing that Stern is a fantastic commissioner, the reality is they aren’t business people. After all, a lot of people thought interest-only home loans with adjustable rates were a great idea, too.

But back to the NBA and it’s heralded draft night, there are almost certainly players who will be much better than the pundits think, and time will continue to tell which teams are horrible at evaluating players. The draft also set off several massive trades which may ultimately prove that Danny Ainge and the Celtics know more about building a team than most of the league.

So while no championship is won on draft night, it does show patterns for teams, and it’s always interesting to see which teams consistently blow it while others walk away with solid contributors every year.

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Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (R) and Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng go for a loose ball during the fourth quarter at the United Center in Chicago on January 8, 2011. The Bulls won 90-79. UPI/Brian Kersey
By James Blackburn

Bulls Win 90-79

Box Score

Note- Noah did not play for the Bulls due to injury.

Game Recap/Thoughts

1st half

  • Game is a battle between division leaders.
  • Boston is the best passing team in the NBA- EVERYONE on the team can pass, including big men.
  • Boston is a half- court team, Bulls like to run, but also can play half-court basketball.
  • Boston did a great job on the boards early in the game. Bulls started getting a lot of second chance points at end of 1st quarter. Ended the quarter on a 10-0 run.
  • Turnovers hurt the Bulls the entire game, especially in the first half. Ended game with 21 TO’s. A lot of the TO’s were unforced. Bulls looked sloppy most of the game.
  • There is a night and day difference when Rondo comes out and N. Robinson comes in the game for Boston. Boston needs a better back up PG. Robinson is TO prone, shoots bad shots, and can’t defend very well. He is out of control on offense and reaches in too much on D.
    2nd half

  • Boston is a veteran team and they play like a veteran team. They are smart/poised/ and under control as a team. When the Bulls would go on a run, the Celtics would not panic. A lot of this can be attributed to Rondo.
  • Coach Rivers should have given more minutes to L. Harangody in the 3rd quarter. Glenn Davis did not have one of his best games.
  • The Bulls crowd started shouting “MVP” when D. Rose was at the FT line in the 3rd quarter.
  • The Bulls did a poor job of defending Davis on the perimeter. They went for his shot fake multiple times, even though Davis had missed the 15’ jumper all night, allowing Davis to get to the rim and draw the foul.
  • Big win for the Bulls ending a 2 game losing streak to 2 non-playoff teams.
  • Bulls got the win because they knocked down open perimeter shots off great ball movement in the 4th and they protected the paint.
  • Celtics lost because of the inability to guard the P/R with Shaq in the game and they turned the ball over on crucial possessions at end of game.

Scouting Reports


Derrick Rose (38 min, 10-19 FG, 15-19 FT, 5 reb, 4 TO’s, 36 TP)

Strengths- Strong/athletic/Explosive PG. Slashes to the rim hard and finishes strong. Protects ball well when attacking the basket. Showed an improved jump shot- has ability to shoot pull up off screen and roll situations. Good FT shooter and gets to the line a lot b/c he attacks the rim. Has an unusual 1 handed floater/pull up shot that he along baseline. He shoots it when he is off balance, but he hits it with surprising effenciency. Well conditioned player- played almost the entire game, but never seemed to slow down or lose speed or momentum.

Weaknesses- TO prone- jumps in the air to make passes most of the time. Forces the issue at times- shoots bad shots- plays out of control at times. Needs to continue to work on 3 pointer and show that he can hit it consistently.

Overview- One of Rose’s best games of the season. Rose has improved every year and continues to establish himself as an elite PG in the NBA.


Ray Allen (39 min, 7-13 FG, 3-5 3pt, 4 reb, 19 TP)

Strengths- Knock down shooter- who can hit the set 3, the set midrange, and has the ability to come off screens and shoot- very quick release. Underrated passer despite his 0 assists. Is a good defender especially against another shooter- shut down Kyle Korver this game.

Weaknesses- Needs to do a better job of finishing with contact at the rim. Has a tough time of creating his own shot against a good defender.

Overview- Allen shows game in and game out why he is the leader of 3 pointers made amongst active players. Defenders respect his shot so much, that Allen is able to get to the rim in a couple of dribbles because the defense plays so tight on him. Does not get the credit he deserves of being a solid overall basketball player who really knows the game, because of legendary shooting ability.

Rajon Rondo (37 min, 6-14 FG, 5 reb, 8 assist, 5 st, 13 TP)

Strengths- Changes speeds very well. Showed a nice touch on up and under lay ups and had a nice left hand finish over the defense. Great passer- if someone is even remotely open, they will get the ball. Poised, under control, a great leader. He seems to never be rushed or in a hurry. A true PG- he does a great job of directing traffic and directing the offense- making sure that guys are in the right spots to run the play. A true quarterback on the court. Does not rush his jump shot- good form- he knocked down a few 17’. Very quick hands on defense. Smart player and defender.

Weaknesses- Some times over penetrates and gets his lay up blocked. Needs to do a better job of getting over/ fighting around screens and overall P/R defense. Needs to continue to extend range of jump shot. Did knock down a couple of jumpers, but needs to make it consistent so the defense will respect it.

Overview- May be the best pure PG in the NBA this side of a healthy Steve Nash. Is like another coach on the floor. Directs the offense and is not afraid to tell fellow future Hall of Famer teammates where to go and what to do. People have been saying for years that if Rondo could develop a decent jump shot, he would be an all-star level PG. Well I am saying he is already an elite PG with out a shot, once he improves his midrange- he will undoubtedly be the best PG in the league.

Luke Harangody (13 min, 0-1 FG, 2 reb, 0 TP)

Strengths- He didn’t necessarily fill up the box score but this was a solid showing for the rookie out of Notre Dame. Strong and physical player. Very good rebounder who boxes out well. Is not very athletic but makes up for it with toughness. Is a good defender, who hedges screens well to stop the ball handler from turning the corner and then gets back to his man quickly. Hustle player who gives 110% on every play. Has a low release on his jumper and shoots it from the side of his head, but he showed this summer that he can shoot and has 3 pt range. Moves his feet well for his size.

Weaknesses- Needs to be more of a threat on offense. Had a rookie mistake at the end of the 3rd quarter- passed the ball when the shot clock was at 1, when he should of shot.

Overview- Very smart player. I thought he deserved more minutes this game. Was coming off his first double-double the night before in a win over Toronto. Even the Celtics like him, Coach Rivers minutes for the rookie have been erratic. Minutes are soon going to be hard to come by when Perkins and Garnett come back from injury. I believe Harangody will become a good player in this league. Reminds me of other players who are not the greatest athletes, but have found ways to be effective in the NBA because of heart, hustle, rebounding, defense, and strength. Such players include ex-Celtic Leon Powe, current Celtic Glenn Davis (who eats a lot of his minutes) Dejuan Blair, and Paul Millsap.

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By James Blackburn

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard celebrates with guard J.J. Redick (front) after beating the Boston Celtics during NBA basketball action in Orlando, Florida December 25, 2010. The Magic beat the Celtics. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Christmas Day Game

Magic Win 86-78

Box Score

Note: Rajon Rondo did not play due to injury.

Game Recap/Thoughts

First Half

  • Celtics are definitely better playing Half-court basketball and the Magic are better in transition.
  • Magic came out and punched Boston in the mouth, going on an 11-0 run. Boston took the Magic’s best shot and ended the quarter ahead 20-19.
  • The Magic took control early dictating the tempo and forcing Boston to run and getting out on the break. Boston then started to slow the game down and ran their offense to get back into the game.
  • The Magic took and made good shots when they got out in transition. When Boston forced them to play half-court basketball, they look uncomfortable and out of sync.
  • Boston started off playing very poor transition defense. They were giving the Magic wide out shots and did a poor job of finding the shooters such as Redick and Turkoglu.
  • Boston really misses Rondo. They were without a PG who could get to the lane and create.
  • Paul Pierce played the PG when Robinson was on the bench.
  • Boston is a very good passing team. All their players are good passers, including their bigs ( they are even better w/ Rondo). Boston loves to down screen on both blocks and curl shooters like Pierce and Allen. Both of those players do a great job of recognizing if the defense traps off the screen or if they are late rotating on the screener. When there is space, they will make you pay if the midrange J. If you cheat it and come high, they both can throw smooth and quick passes to KG or any other big for easy buckets.

Second Half

  • Orlando looks a lot more comfortable in the half court and is starting to knock down open looks that they were missing in the first half.
  • Boston’s defense still allowed shooters for Orlando to get open looks. They needed to make their shooters go to the rim, where shot blockers were there to protect the rim.
  • Boston lost the game partly because of their shot selection. Pierce, Robinson, and Allen settled for poor shots. They went away from what was working for them in the first half and resorted to one-on-one offense. They did not pass the ball nearly as well.
  • Boston did a poor job of pick and roll defense in 2nd half allowing Nelson to get his rhythm.

Scouting Reports


Dwight Howard (33 min, 1-4 FG, 4-10 FT, 11 reb, 5 fouls, 5 blks, 6 TP)

Strengths- Showed his power and strength on the defensive end early, showing the ability to guard Shaq one on one in the low post. He was able to keep Shaq from doing what he wanted down low. Showed some improved footwork in low post, but his best offense is still a rebound and dunk. Good shot blocker. Does a good job of drawing fouls.

Weaknesses- Inconsistent FT shooter, gets frustrated too much with the officials calls.

Overview- One of the poorest offensive performances of the year for Howard. Was scoreless until the 2nd half. Was in foul trouble most of the game. Did a good job on the defensive side of the ball, but was non existent on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see how Howard performs in the rest of the Magic meetings with Boston. When Perkins returns, the Celtics will have plenty of bigs to throw at Howard in Perkins, Shaq, Jermain O’Neal, and Davis.

Hedo Turkoglu (32 min, 6-10 FG, 4-8 3pt, 4 ass, 4 reb, 16 TP)

Strengths- Great shooter who is deadly when his feet are set. Does a good job of finding his spots in transition. Has the ability to create his own shot when needed, but is more effective on the catch and shoot.

Weaknesses- Not a great defensive player, slow feet.

Overview- Hedo started off strong hitting several 3’s in the Magic’s 11-0 run to start the game. Hedo should continue to look more and more comfortable as he gets reestablished with his former team.

Jameer Nelson ( 28 min, 3- 9 FG, 4-4 FT, 3 ass, 6 TO, 12 TP)

Stengths- Good shooter, although he struggled with his shot today. Decent defender. Has a good floater in his arsenal as well.

Weaknesses- Poor P/R player, needs to do a better job of turning the corner. Can’t get to the lane and create. More of an undersized 2G, than a true PG, which the team needs.

Overview- Nelson struggled early in this game, but recovered nicely in the second half, finding his rhythm and hitting some big shots down the stretch to help put the Celtics away. The Magic need a PG like Chris Paul and Rondo, who with their speed can get into the lane at will and kick to the Magic shooters or throw the lob to Howard. The Magic have been looking for the pieces to put them over the top and to keep them competitive in the East. I don’t think they will be able to really compete for a championship until they get a new PG.


Shaquille O’Neal (12 min, 1-3 FG, 1 reb, 1 blk, 2 TP)

Strengths- Can still hold his own on the defensive side of the floor. Is a presence down low. Howard did a good job on him today and kept him from scoring and getting comfortable offensively.

Weaknesses- Foul prone. He is just not the same on the low block anymore. Just a couple of years ago, every time Shaq caught the ball in good position under the goal, it was either a dunk or a foul. But today Howard was able to block or intimidate Shaq’s shot even when he got deep position.

Overview- His age is starting to show, but he is still force. Howard might be able to push him around, but there are still very few centers in the NBA who can do that to O’Neal.

Paul Pierce (40 min, 6-14 FG, 5 ass, 8 reb, 18 TP)

Strengths- Creative offensive game. Good P/R player, who makes good decisions w/ the ball in these situations. Is a duel threat offensively who can take it to the rim and finish w/ contact and can shoot the 3. Loves to go right but can go left as well. Not the fastest or most athletic player, but has a smooth and creative offensive game. Very strong player with good upper body strength.

Weaknesses- slow release on jumper and has unusual footwork putting 1 foot far in front of the other. Sometimes settles for the jumper.

Overview- Pierce will go into the HOF as one of the best all-around offensive players to ever play the game. He always looks like he is slow and is just coasting but is well conditioned and is not afraid to take the big shot.

Nate Robinson (42 min, 2-15 FG, 6 reb, 4 ass, 7 TP)

Strengths- Athletic, strong rebounder for a guard. Solid defensive player. Scores in bunches and is a good spark for the second unit normally, but is very inconsistent. Decent 3pt. shooter who can create his own shot.

Weaknesses- Over dribbles, not a good shooter ( decent 3 pt. shooter, but not a good pull up or mid range shooter. and takes a lot of bad shots. Does not have a high basketball IQ. Is at his best in the open court, but is in the wrong system because the Celtics are a half-court team. Does a poor job of setting up the offense. At times it looks like he does not want the ball and is timid and then at other times as soon as he touches in he lets it go, which is 90% of the time. Has poor shooting mechanics. Rondo is even a better shooter in my mind and will become one if he becomes moor confident in his mid range jumper.

Overview- Not a PG, more of a combo guard who normally comes off the bench to ignite the offense and the crowd. Started and played a lot of minutes due to Rondo being injured.

Avery Bradley (5 min, 0-0 FG, 1 reb, 0 TP)

Overview- Solid showing today for the rookie PG out of Texas. Although he did not fill up the box score, I think the coaches liked what they saw today from Bradley. He is a very good defensive player with quick hands and feet. He pressures the ball from baseline to baseline. Reminds me of Sean Singletary because of his size and defense. He did a good job of orchestrating the offense and not trying to do too much. Hopefully now with the injury to Rondo, he can find his way into the rotation more, especially with the erratic and inconsistent play of Robinson.

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Danny Ainge is a guy who has really made as much of a mark as a basketball executive as he did when he played on the same legendary team as Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish.

With the latest acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal (how great is it that that two big men for the Boston Celtics have the last name O’Neal), and the drafting of Luke Harangody looking like a good pick, Danny is making moves to keep the Celtics relevant. Here’s our exclusive interview with Danny Ainge, GM of the Boston Celtics, who talks about what he thinks the team needs and what factor a player’s age has in his decision.


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By James Blackburn

James continues his scouting of the 2010 NBA summer league games in Orlando, where many rookies are getting their first chance to prove themselves in the NBA.

Day 2, Game 3- 5:00 game
Boston (0-2) vs. Philly (2-0)
Philly win 86-69
Box Score

• Lawrence Frank, Doc Rivers, and Danny Ainge are sitting 3 seats down from me.
• Boston lost because of rough PG play and TO’s.
• Boston played zone in the 2nd quarter.
• Philly played good D and did well on the boards.

Image Src: AP

Scouting Reports

Luke Harangody (31 min, 4-14 FG, 0-2 3 pt, 6-6 FT, 12 reb, 1 blk, 14 tp)- Had a rough shooting day, but again showed off his rebounding skills, grabbing 12 boards. He is very agile and strong. He played great post defense today, and was able to hold his man off. He has a quick release on his jumper, but has a low release. His form looks good on FT and set shots. Again he showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and score with an awkward flip shot for an And 1. Also showed a nice step back jumper. Can be the next Dejuan Blair with a better offensive game.

Toney Gaffney (24 min, 4-7 FG, 2-2 FT, 5 reb, 1 blk, 10 tp)- I remember asking myself last season why the Celtics picked up Gaffney late in the season. I now know why, Gaffney plays hard and is very lanky, long, and athletic, with lots of upside and potential. He runs the floor well and is active on both ends on the boards. He has a nice jumper too, and showed the ability to grab a board and bring it up himself, although he needs to get his dribble tighter and lower.

Jaycee Carroll (29 min, 6-10 FG, 1-3 3pt, 1-3 FT, 6 reb, 2 ass, 14 tp)- Has a great runner/floater that is money. Has a great shooting stroke and displayed good body control in the air. Not athletic/quick enough for the league.

Oliver Lafayette ( 21 min, 3-9 FG, 1-1 FT, 5 ass, 5 TO, 7 tp)- Is a good ball handler with a killer crossover. Has the ability to create his own shot. He tries to do to much sometimes and over dribbles. He gets good lift on his jumper, and is a good scorer. Is a good defender, but is too TO prone.


Cedric Simmons (16 min, 4-5 FG, 2-4 FT, 7 reb, 10 tp)- Very solid and productive game for Ced today. He was all over the boards and it seemed to me that he had more than 7 rebounds. He is very active- you must box him out. He is very strong and is a great finisher around the basket. Does everything with 2 hands. Almost took the goal down on a couple of hard dunks. Very active on defense- blocked/influenced shots. Also showed off a nice hook. Good chance he lands with an NBA team this year and stays on all year.

Jrue Holiday (31 min, 3-10 FG, 4-5 FT, 5 ass, 10 tp)- Very athletic and has ability to finish over bigger players. Very good dribbler who can get to basket and finish in creative ways. Throws great soft lob passes. Good defender too, with quick active hands. Needs to improve his 3 pointer.

Evan Turner (30 min, 5-12 FG, 1-2 3 pt, 2-2 FT, 3 reb, 4 ass, 2 st, 13 tp)- Evan again showed that he can fill up the stat sheet and impact a game even on a off shooting night. He is a good set shooter, but settles for tough shots, which impacts his percentages. He is forcing the issue a lot this game. Is a great rebounder, who actively pursues the ball. Is also a good passer , with a nice crossover that gets him to the rim.

Marreese Speights (29 min, 5-12 FG, 2-2 FT, 11 reb, 12 tp)- Great rebounder, is inconsistent on offense, surprised me with his athleticism. Is a strong finisher and showed a nice spin move.

Kevin Durant summer league
Image Source: ESPN

By James Blackburn

Game 3- 5:00 game
Boston (0-1) vs. OKC (1-0)
Thunder win 87-82
Box Score


• Boston was very patient at the beginning of the game, not forcing shots and sharing the ball.

• Boston played good team defense and closed out on the shooters.

• The Thunder brought Harden, White, Ibaka, Weaver, and Maynor with them- went from being the youngest team in the NBA to the most experienced team at Summer League.

• The Thunder started off sluggish, but came out in the second half with a bang- and eventually just wore Boston out- with its size and athleticism.

• Kevin Durant was present, sitting on the Thunder bench.

Scouting Reports


Luke Harangody ( 27 min., 9-13 FG, 4-6 3 pt., 4 reb., 1 blk., 23 tp)- Very solid showing from the rookie out of Notre Dame. Luke proved a lot of skeptics wrong in this game. Luke is an excellent 3 pt shooter, with a quick release and great form. He plays good defense too, always displaying a hand in the shooters face. He also looked a lot trimmer and cut from his college days. Luke is generously listed at 6’8”, but is more like 6’6”. The Celtics might want to think about moving him to play SF, as Pierce backup. He sets solid screens and is a good P and Pop guy. Has a fluid jumper, gets his feet set and doesn’t look hurried. Keeps ball high on rebounds. Displayed the ability to put the ball on the floor and draw the foul or score. Good P and R defense. Not very athletic but had great block on Mullins in 4th quarter. Will play hard the entire game.

Jaycee Carroll ( 29 min., 6-16 FG, 1-4 3pt, 2 reb., 4 ass, 13 tp)- Carroll out of Utah State had a good outing. He is a great shooter who can stroke it from anywhere on the court. He can also make plays off the dribble. He is a pest on defense who will get in you and closeout well.


Eric Maynor (33 min, 7-13 FG, 1-1 3pt, 3 reb, 5 ass, 15 tp)- Eric may have had the best performance of a PG all day. Showed the entire package: great shooter, good passer, controlled the game and ran the offense. He showed good body control in the air, with the ability to finish in traffic. Has a nice floater and is a crafty player once he reaches the paint. Has a nice right to left crossover, that is extremely quick.

Serge Ibaka( 17 min., 2-5 FG, 5 reb., 6 tp)- Very strong and physical player. Got hurt in second half and did not return. Is a very good defender, who is a presence in the pain with good shot blocking skills. Has developed a nice sweeping hook going to his right.

Byron Mullens ( 33 min., 6-12 FG, 12-15 FT, 7 reb., 24 tp)- The Celtics did not have an answer for Mullens in the P and R. Mullens, a second year player out of Ohio State, made a living this game at the FT line, where he took advantage hitting 12 FT. Does a great job rolling to the basket, catching the ball, gathering himself and attacking the basket, where he got fouled repeatedly. Very good FT shooter for big man. Athletic player, who is also a solid rebounder.

James Harden (34 min., 2-6 FG, 15-18 FT,3 reb, 2 st, 19 tp)- Harden started off the game deferring to teammates and trying to get everyone involved, but cam out the second half firing and taking command of the game. The Thunder put him in a lot of P and R situations with Mullens with him as the ball handler, which the Celtics did not have an answer for. Harden is very athletic and strong. He is great at attacking the basket, where he can finish with contact. One time he tried to dunk on Harangody- all Luke could do was push him with 2 hands. Is creative and composed with ball in his hands, good things would happen when he would touch it. Had a game saving block on jump shot at end of game.

The Boston Celtics were not supposed to be returning to the NBA Finals.

They were, according to the prevalent thinking among fans and media, supposed to be past their prime.


They were supposed to be beaten easily by Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers, or at least by the steamrolling juggernaut from the south, the Orlando Magic.

As the Celtics gathered at mid court to celebrate their return to the championship series, Boston fans cheered and NBA fans wondered: what happened?

How did the Celtics, supposedly a team of old, over the hill veterans who couldn’t win consistently in the regular season, suddenly look so amazingly good?

The answer lies in two parts, both equally important.

The first part is more due to the nature of the modern NBA, and how an experienced team approaches the regular season.

It’s no secret that the NBA season is far too long, with too many guaranteed contracts. As a result, teams like the Celtics, much like San Antonio has done in previous years, will pace themselves all season. The coaches rest their older players much more during the season, trading the meaningless wins and division leads for a spot in the playoffs, when it suddenly matters.

The NBA regular season is nearly a preseason, and the playoffs are the actual season. Players try a lot harder in the playoffs. Suddenly the lights come on, fans are tuned in and players want to win. And that’s why players like Lebron suddenly look less incredible and more like ‘just a pretty good player’. The NBA has loads of talented guys, and when playoff time arrives, the experienced players suddenly flip the switch and pour it on.

So the Celtics have experienced players in spades, mixed in with the energy of youth, with Rondo, Perkins and Big Baby Davis providing the athletic exuberance to fit in with the older players’ basketball smarts.

But the second big factor as to why the Celtics have been winning isn’t so obvious.

Sure, they’ve got Garnett back, but even though his intensity is great and he has a nasty mid range jumper, he’s not the raging athletic he once was. He’s not the only reason the Celtics are winning.

To find that out, you’ve got to look at a single, easily missed statistic.

For the last seventeen games in a row, no player has led in scoring back to back.

What does that mean?

It means the Celtics have a lot of weapons, and whoever you leave open is going to kill you. All they have to do is figure out where your team is weak.

This only works because the players understand it. With a lot of teams, the star player is going to get his shots no matter if he’s being triple teamed or not. And if a team has two star players but both are being held in check by the defense, the depth of most rosters is not enough to get points.

And so the Celtics have put aside egos, and ignored the silly rantings of the media. If Ray Allen torches an opponent one night, journalists will write about the lack of scoring from Paul Pierce or Garnett.

A few nights later, when Allen is being smothered and Pierce is lighting up the scoreboard, it’s Allen who the writers will blast.

But none of that matters, because winning is the thing, and for the Celtics, it’s working perfectly.

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