Can The Celtics Beat The Heat Without Rajon Rondo?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 07: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics walks off the court after Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 7, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 97-81. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Boston's All-Star point guard is a game-time decision Monday night due to a dislocated elbow. If he can't play, do the Celtics stand a chance of evening their series with the Heat?

The Boston Celtics can even their second-round NBA Playoff series against the Miami Heat at two games apiece with a victory Monday evening, but they may have to do it without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, a game-time decision after dislocating his left elbow in Game 3.

As a two-time All-Star and a leader, Rondo is of vital importance to Boston's hopes of knotting the series and ultimately advancing to their third Eastern Conference Finals in four seasons. That much is obvious to any hoops fan. What might be less obvious is the extent of his importance.

According to BasketballValue, with Rondo on the bench in the regular season, the Celtics were barely an average team, scoring just 100.08 points per 100 possessions and giving up 99.06 points per 100 possessions. But with him on the court, the Celtics' offense improve significantly (109.85 points per 100), while the defense only gets slightly worse (101.34), which can be explained by Rondo usually playing against other teams' starters.

Rondo's on/off splits in the postseason are even more pronounced; indeed, Boston is a ghastly 42.21 points per 100 possessions worse when Rondo sits. Tellingly, the Celtics have shot an incredible 78.9 percent on three-pointers against the Heat off Rondo assists, compared to 36.4 percent when he does not assist.

Rondo leads the Celtics in postseason minutes played, averaging 39.6 per game. Should he be unavailable Monday, Doc Rivers will have to fill that time with the likes of Delonte West and Carlos Arroyo. Though both players have their strengths--West's a dogged defender who can create his own shot, while Arroyo is a more prototypical, pass-first floor general with an okay mid-range jumper--neither can hope to duplicate Rondo's style or productivity, particularly when it comes to starting a transition scoring opportunity with a defensive board or a steal.

As such, the task falls to the Celtics' veteran stars to carry a bigger load, not just in the box score but in the huddle and on the sidelines.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Boston

You must be a member of SB Nation Boston to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Boston. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Boston

You must be a member of SB Nation Boston to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Boston. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.