Celtics Question of the Day: Who is the Celtics' leader this season?

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Celtics Question of the Day: Who is the Celtics' leader this season?

Paul Pierce is still the captain. Kevin Garnett remains the heart the Celtics. And Rajon Rondo is clearly the C's most dynamic player.

But who's leading this team?

All three players will in some fashion defer the leadership title to one of their teammates. But if you've paid attention to this team's evolution the past couple of years, it should be pretty clear that this is Rondo's team.

We're not talking about his team in the future. This is Rondo's team ... now.

That doesn't make Pierce and Garnett irrelevant in terms of their role with the franchise. What it does, more than anything, is clarify the direction that the C's are trending towards.

Look no further than the moves made by the Celtics this summer: Youth. Athleticism. Versatility.

You see a strong mix of all those traits in the players Boston added this offseason. But what you don't see is the addition of the aging veteran to a prominent role.

Why?

Because the C's core group of Pierce and KG are aging veterans.

Aware of this, Boston added talent and depth at those positions so they wouldn't be as dependent on those two to carry the team like they've done for so many years.

That's why they gave Jeff Green a four-year deal worth 36 million. They did that with the knowledge that he will someday replace Pierce at small forward and that his strength -- running the floor -- plays well off of one of Rondo's best qualities.

Boston drafted Fab Melo because he has the potential to be a game-changing defender in the middle like Garnett which would allow Rondo to get out and run more in transition.

The Celtics drafted Jared Sullinger because he has the potential to deliver points in the paint a la Garnett, while Brandon Bass can help spread the floor, like Garnett, with the pick-and-pop game he runs with Rondo.

You go down the line of new additions, and they all in some way benefit the play of Rondo.

Both Pierce and KG will continue to have prominent voices and a presence inside the locker room. But Celtics coach Doc Rivers has said many times that this is Rondo's team, and the way the Celtics are constructed, it's pretty clear that's never been more true.

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

This season the Boston Celtics have shown flashes for a few minutes here and there that they were an elite team defensively. 
 
But what they did in the second half to the Orlando?
 
Boston (13-9) put on a defensive clinic that overwhelmed the Magic on every level imaginable as the Celtics cruised to a 117-87 thumping of Orlando.
 
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been even-keeled when it comes to discussing his team’s play, win or lose. 
 
But even he couldn’t contain how pleased he was to see the way his players defended in the third and fourth quarters. 
 
“On defense, the second half was as good as we’ve guarded all year,” Stevens told reporters afterwards. “Really focused, really urgent. I felt good about that.”
 
Setting the tone for the Celtics was Avery Bradley who certainly was impressive with his scoring. 
 
But as much as he knew the team would need a boost offensively with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, that wasn’t his approach to the game. 
 
“I had a defensive mindset coming into tonight’s game,” Bradley told CSN’s Abby Chin following the win. “Just trying to get my teammates to playing the right way so we could come out and get the ‘W’ tonight. I’m happy with how all the guys played. We all played hard, and we played as a team.”
 
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.
 

STARS
 
Avery Bradley

Bradley picked up the scoring with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out for Wednesday, leading the team with a game-high 23 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.
 
 
STUDS

Jaylen Brown

Arguably the biggest spark off the bench for Boston, Brown had one of his best games as a Celtic. He finished with 13 points which included a dunk over Nikola Vucevic that quieted the Amway Center crowd and just as important, provided a nice energy boost for Boston.
 
D.J. Augustin

He had the hot hand at the end of the second quarter, but was a non-factor in the second half as Augustin finished with 15 points – all of which came in the first half. 
 
Terry Rozier

This was a great confidence-booster for Rozier as well as his teammates to see him have a big game and make the most of his increased opportunity to play. He finished with a career-high 16 points off the Celtics bench on 6-for-13 shooting with five rebounds.
 
Nikola Vucevic

It doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench. Vucevic is always a double-double threat on the floor. He finished with 12 points off the bench along with 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double this season. 
 

DUDS
 
Orlando second half defense

The Celtics got pretty much whatever they wanted, when they wanted it in the second half against the Magic defense which pulled a major disappearing act. Boston shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, and 45.4 percent from 3-point range.