Three things we learned Sunday as the Celtics lost their point guard for the remainder of the season but still managed to beat the rival Heat, 100-98, in two overtimes:
Rajon Rondo put in the effort Sunday morning to play against the Heat, but the right knee he “hyperextended” in last Friday’s brutal loss to the Hawks did not feel any better before game time. The Celtics point guard was a late scratch and fans were deprived of seeing Rondo go at it with Heat guard Ray Allen.
Just two hours later, the news got much, much worse for the C’s and their backers as it was learned that one of the more dynamic players in the game will be lost indefinitely as Rondo had actually suffered a torn right ACL injury in the Atlanta game and is done for the year.
The results came via an MRI that was conducted at New England Baptist Hospital early Sunday afternoon.
The injury changes the Celtics plans for the remainder of the 2012-13 season dramatically. Even the most optimistic onlooker has to believe that the Celtics chances of competing for an NBA title this year are dashed and plans to “blow up the team,” which had already been discussed heavily in recent days will receive new credence.
The Celtics played inspired basketball Sunday without No. 9, going toe-to-toe with the best team in the Eastern Conference late into the afternoon and ultimately coming away with a thrilling double-overtime
victory. In the process they ended their ugly losing streak, which had reached six games.
Kevin Garnett (24 points) and Paul Pierce (17 points, 10 assists, 13 rebounds) were tremendous throughout, each playing over 45 minutes.
Leandro Barbosa (9 points) gave the C’s a scoring punch off the bench at the point and Jeff Green (11 points) and Jason Terry (13 points) also provided the Celtics with quality minutes.
Big buckets by Terry and Pierce late in the second overtime proved deadly to the Heat.
LeBron James (34 points) buried a 3-pointer with seven seconds left to send the game to overtime and came up with several big shots in both overtimes for Miami, but his missed jumper with seven seconds left in
the second overtime ultimately ended the game in favor of the Green.
Ray of remembrance
With 5:33 left in the first quarter, the Celtics attempted to fix the crowd’s reaction to the Allen saga the way they allegedly like to fix in-game crowd noise. The team showed a touching Allen tribute on the Jumbotron, which was met with polite applause and even a loyal group that gave the former C’s 2-guard a standing ovation.
Less than a minute later, Allen (21 points) checked into the game and received a steady stream of boos. Most every time Allen touched the ball after that, he got the old Jason Kidd treatment.
Allen did hit a pretty baseline jumper with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter to give the Heat an early 22-20 advantage and was solid throughout for Miami, leading the Heat bench in the first
half with seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. He also buried a corner three, right in the face of his old Big 3 co-member Pierce with 25 seconds left in regulation.