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Celts thrive on new offensive style without Rondo

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm •  Published: February 8, 2013
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"Rondo does so many different great things for this team, you can kind of get lackadaisical," Kevin Garnett said. "It's very similar to if you have someone cooking for you and you're expecting it every day.

"And, all of the sudden, that someone is not there, obviously, to do that, and it's up to you to feed yourself. And, all of the sudden, you start making these gourmet dishes and then you have some more people over to the house, more people eating. You never know you possessed that, unless you lost that person who was cooking. It's kind of like that."

Without Rondo, the Celtics have tossed in an extra dash of guards Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa, forward Jeff Green and center Chris Wilcox. And another, Avery Bradley, has been one of the NBA's top defensive guards after missing the first 30 games while recovering from surgery on both shoulders.

"Everybody's relaxed out there and we're just having fun moving the ball around," Bradley said. "Everybody's relaxed out there and we're just having fun moving the ball around. It's simple basketball. We almost feel like we're playing summer ball. Everybody's just passing it. If you don't have anything, pass it. That's just how we play and it's hard to beat a team like that."

Rivers didn't have much choice. He knew he had to pick up the offensive pace.

"I like our vibe and our spirit and we're playing selfless and free," he said. "We're not, honestly, good enough ballhandlers to play halfcourt. We just can't. We can't get stuck in that because we don't have one guy that is good enough with the ball to be able to orchestrate our offense."

The defense also has been outstanding.

"You make (the opponent) use 20 seconds every time down defensively and, even if your offense goes stale, you can still win the game," Rivers said.

Even without Rondo.

"Everybody's touching the ball and playing with a lot of confidence," said Garnett, who became the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points on Thursday. "We are playing together on both ends and that's important right now."

There was a temporary slipup in Wednesday night's 99-95 win at Toronto when the Celtics slowed the pace and trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter.

"You could hear them talking about it throughout the game. 'This is not us. This is not us,'" Rivers said, "and then when we finally got the pace, you could hear them, 'This is who we are.' "