INDIANAPOLIS — Often true leadership isn't seen in how individuals perform, but rather how those around them respond when given an opportunity to performance similar feats.
Most Boston Celtics players have seen Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett deliver in the clutch to the point where it becomes an expectation in tight, late-game situations.
But at some point, they too will have an opportunity to rise up in crunch time, something Celtics Nation saw in Boston's 83-81 buzzer-beating win over Indiana.
Boston (33-27) trailed by double digits going into the fourth quarter, and took its only lead of the second half on the game-winning shot: A Jeff Green layup with 0.5 seconds to play.
He wasn't the only unfamiliar face in the role of hero for the Celtics.
Avery Bradley's point-blank layup with 1:21 to play tied the game at 81-81.
"I was just playing," was how Bradley described his game-tying basket to CSNNE.com. "I was really moving to try and get somebody else a shot. I was right under the basket, wide open and [Kevin Garnett] made a great pass. I was fortunate enough to make the shot."
Green's game-winner was also a play in which he was seemingly in the right place at the right time.
"I wanted the ball, but I had to be a great decoy," Green said. "Like always, all the attention went to Paul and Kev; they doubled Kev on the pass and Kev made a great pass over the double team. I went up, tried to go up strong and it went in."
The win comes about a week after the Celtics won at Utah to close out a five-game-in-seven-day West Coast trip, considered by players and coach Doc Rivers as the biggest win of the season . . . until now.
Indiana has been among the NBA's best teams of late, and came into Wednesday's game with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
They were at home, which has been extremely good to them this season.
For most of the game they played with a lead, which included a 10-point cushion going into the fourth quarter.
Even with all that the C's remained a confident bunch, even if their play up until the fourth left a lot to be desired.
"We didn't have anything tonight," said Rivers. "You could see it. We were flat."
But Boston soon went from floundering at both ends of the floor, to flourishing down the stretch by keeping the Pacers scoreless for the final 4:36 of the game.
On many levels, Wednesday's victory symbolized the kind of season the Celtics are shaping this one up to be, one that shows much more promise than poor play which is what many predicted as several key players suffered season-ending injuries.
"We're a grind team," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "We never had any doubt in our mind that we weren't going to come out with the win. I feel like we played great as a team at both ends of the floor tonight."
Especially down the stretch, eventually putting it away with clutch plays from players like Bradley and Green who well, aren't really known for delivering when the game is on the line.
"They just haven't been in that many situations," C's guard Jason Terry told CSNNE.com. "But again, this is what builds that type of confidence from within, games like these. So if we're thrust into that situation in the playoffs, they'll be ready to step up and make it."
But even if they didn't deliver on Wednesday night, Pierce told CSNNE.com that the ability for the rest of the C's to play with confidence in the face of adversity is now embedded in their basketball genes courtesy of himself and Garnett.
"That's the genetic makeup of this team," Pierce said. "Me and Kevin installed the DNA, we gave everybody a shot of it. And that's what you're seeing out here."