Somber Celts Beat Heat
Monday, January 28, 2013
First the good news: The Boston Celtics snapped their season-high 6-game losing streak Sunday by beating the World Champion Miami Heat 100-98 in double overtime at the TD Garden.
Now for the bad news: The team also learned Sunday that they will be without starting point guard Rajon Rondo for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL in his right knee.
Rondo suffered the injury in the team’s loss in Atlanta Friday night. It was originally thought to be a hyperextended right knee. However, an MRI confirmed a torn ACL meaning Rondo will be sidelined for at least the next 6-9 months. He apparently will seek a second opinion before deciding on how to proceed. However, surgery seems very likely.
As expected, reaction in the Celtics locker room after the game was mixed. On the one hand, the team was happy with hard-fought the win over Miami. However, that enthusiasm was dampened by the news of Rondo’s injury.
"Obviously the Rondo news is tough," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I knew before the game, but I didn't tell anyone. Obviously it was pretty emotional."
Kevin Garnett was very disappointed with the news. "It was a big blow to everybody in here, me included," he said. “It's tough. We had a tough game, came in, and he told the whole team in the locker room. It's tough, tough on everybody.
Even players in the Miami locker room expressed disappointment in the news including the best player on the planet – LeBron James. "I think it sucks. It's terrible," James said. "As much as a competitor and as much as I've been a rival with Boston over the years, I never want to see anyone go down. And knowing the competitor that he is and knowing how talented he is, I think it's terrible, not only for their team but for the league."
Courtney Lee started in place of Rondo on Sunday and finished with 4 points and 2 assists. But he wasn’t really the one driving the bus for Boston on the offensive end of the floor. Instead, Paul Pierce played the role of “point-forward” and dished out a team-high 10 assists to go along with his 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge admitted after the game that it will be an interesting challenge for his team to play without Rondo for the remainder of the season. He also admitted that it is a challenge that he is not looking forward to. Ainge also said that he will not be more inclined to make a big trade for point guard help with Rondo on the shelf.
Kevin Garnett had his second straight double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
Miami was led by LeBron James who finished with 34 points and 16 rebounds. Former Celtic Ray Allen scored 21 points on (7-17) from the field and just (2-8) from three-point range.
Allen received a nice ovation midway through the first quarter. A video montage of Allen’s career highlights as a Celtic was shown on the scoreboard during a timeout prompting a loud ovation from the TD Garden crowd. Allen waived to the fans in appreciation of the ovation and thanked them after the game.
"When I saw it, just all those emotions came streaming back from all the great things we did here," he said. "I'll always be a Celtic in my mind."
As nice as Allen’s word are and the fact that Boston won the game, it was still a tough day in Celtics Nation with the news about the loss of Rajon Rondo.