BOSTON With so many story lines colliding when the Celtics and Heat meet, it was the guy that didn't play -- Rajon Rondo -- that had the NBA world abuzz Sunday.
Prior to the completion of Boston's 100-98 double overtime win over the Miami Heat, the Celtics discovered that Rondo would be lost for the season with a torn right ACL injury.
The news could not come at a worst time for the Celtics who avoided a seventh straight loss, which would have been the team's longest losing streak since they dropped 18 in a row during the 2006-2007 season.
Even with the win, Rondo's absence leaves a cavernous void in the Celtics lineup, one that hasn't been all that impressive even with him in the lineup.
The injury occurred during the fourth quarter of Boston's double overtime loss at Atlanta on Friday night.
Rondo was at the TD Garden prior to the game and went through shoot-around with the team.
Afterward, he was bothered by some pain in the knee and it was determined to be too painful for him to play against the Heat.
He was then sent to New England Baptist Hospital for further testing, which is when they discovered the torn ACL injury.
Without Rondo, the Celtics still had a game to play against a Heat team that came into the day with the best record in the Eastern Conference and a roster that now includes former Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen.
The C's did a video tribute prior to Allen checking in to what was his first game at the TD Garden since he joined the Heat this offseason.
Allen had a solid game off the bench for Miami, tallying 21 points to go with 5 rebounds.
But the Celtics got a solid game from their reserves as well, namely Jeff Green.
In addition to doing a decent job defending LeBron James, Green also had a number of big plays offensively which included a dunk over Chris Bosh in the fourth quarter that put the C's ahead, 75-72.
But no play was bigger than him forcing a James miss late in the second overtime. Paul Pierce grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Pierce made one of the two free throws for the game's final point.
Miami's last shot at the win came on a desperation heave from Shane Battier as time expired.
It was a night in which Celtics Nation was rocking even as one of its best players could do nothing but watch from the nearby players tunnel, surrounded by security officials, knowing he would not be able to do anything other than cheer on his teammates for the rest of the season.