Are the Celtics better without Rondo?
Taken together, the numbers indicate that Boston is playing better without Rondo, but not that the Celtics are playing better because Rondo is out. It's somewhat troubling in its own right that they've been able to replace an All-Star point guard so easily, but any notion that Rondo was holding back his Boston teammates overstates the case.
The Celtics' ability to win without Rondo is good news for the next few months. When Rondo went down, conventional wisdom had it that they might survive his absence the rest of the regular season but would be unable to duplicate their Rondo-led run to last year's Eastern Conference finals. Their performance thus far might disprove that assumption. Boston's level of play without Rondo, 4.0 points better than an average team, would put the C's ahead of Indiana (+3.4) and New York (+3.0) this season. Only Miami (+6.8) has been better in the Eastern Conference.
Average offense and elite defense has historically been a powerful combination for the Celtics in the postseason. They'll surely have to win at least one series on the road to get back to the conference finals, but that has never been a problem for Boston before.
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