BOSTON -- The Celtics lost a court vision mastermind when Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending ACL injury.
They were forced to find a way to fill his absence in the backcourt. They could not replace him -- players like Rondo are unique -- but the remaining backcourt players would have to step up and contribute in their own ways.
On Friday, game number three without Rondo, the guard trio of Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, and Leandro Barbosa combined for 38 points in the Celtics 97-84 win over the Orlando Magic.
"We were able to get some stops at times, and that's the most important thing," said Lee. "Once you get stops, you are able to get out and run, and that's what led to us getting out and running and getting easy layups."
Lee has moved into the starting role since Rondo's injury. He played nearly 40 minutes on Friday, scoring 14 points off of 6-for-13 shooting.
Hes doing great," said Doc Rivers. "Im asking a lot of him.He started the game bringing the ball up at point, then hes guarding JJ Redick, and then at one point he was at the three. Honestly, everyone on our teams going to have to do that every night.
Terry, who struggled with consistency, hit a stride (12 points, 4-8 FG, 28 minutes), and Barbosa thrived in increased minutes (12 points, 6-11 FG, 27 minutes).
"We kind of let them play," said Rivers. "I called the one timeout and they kept asking, What are we running? I said, I have no idea. Just go out and space the floor and play, and play through it.' I think Jason loves to play that way, I think LB clearly likes to play that way, and they just read each other extremely well.We try to keep them on the floor at the same time.
Starting guard Avery Bradley had his praise for his counterparts, who allow him to stay focused on defense where he is most valuable to the Celtics.
"They were aggressive," Bradley said. "They played great tonight. It's hard to beat a team that's as deep as us."