CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Boston Celtics love it when Rajon Rondo is aggressive.
With no Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen available Sunday night, the lone member of the Big Four had no choice.
In addition to his usual slicing and dicing of defenses with pinpoint-precise passes, Rondo also looked to become more of a scorer.
The C's definitely needed it, even against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.
Rondo's ability to dominate both as a scorer and passes set the tone in the C's 94-82 win. He finished with 20 points, 16 assists and six rebounds.
His backcourt mate, Avery Bradley, had another strong game for the Celtics. He had a game-high 22 points which included a clutch 3-pointer from the corner - his 3-ball spot of choice these days - about midway through the fourth quarter that put the C's up 81-74.
From there, the Celtics were able to keep a comfortable distance between themselves and Charlotte, losers of 16 in a row.
Beating the Bobcats who are on pace for an unprecedented season of futility, in itself doesn't mean that much.
But to do so without three players as important as Pierce, Garnett and Allen, is a victory to savor.
Prior to the C's three-games in three nights stretch, C's coach Doc Rivers said the plan was to sit Garnett at some point.
But the idea was that Allen, who has been out with a right ankle injury, would be back in time which meant at least one member of the Big Three would be playing even if Rivers opted to sit Pierce along with Garnett.
However, Allen's injury taking longer to heal coupled with Pierce stubbing his left big toe in Saturday's win at New Jersey, led to a Big Three-less game against the Bobcats.
"Having all three out obviously hurts our offense," Rivers said prior to the game.
It certainly didn't look like that in the first half, with the C's shooting 50 percent from the field.
If anything, their absence was felt greater on the defensive end.
Along with scoring 49 points in the first half against the Boston, the Celtics also allowed Charlotte to shoot 47.7 percent from the field.
The C's had reverted back to being a jump-shooting team that didn't bother to look to establish a low-post scoring threat.
Considering the options available, Brandon Bass would have made the most sense to turn to in that effort, or possibly Rondo backing down Charlotte's smallish point guards, D.J. Augustin and former UConn star Kemba Walker.