BOSTON - The 2007-08 season was a long time ago, and seems even further away when you look at the current state of the Boston Celtics.
Every player from that season is gone except Rajon Rondo, and as Boston enters Sunday's game with a 23-49 record, you can bet the atmosphere is a little different too.
But with former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau in town with his Bulls team, it's always nice to reminisce about the good old days.
Thibs was an integral part of the C's best seasons during their run before getting the Bulls head coaching job. He was asked what his top memory was here in Boston, outside of winning a championship, of course.
"Probably the group. The way they worked," Thibodeau said. "The willingness to sacrifice for each other. Of course it started with Kevin [Garnett], Ray [Allen], and Paul [Pierce]. They set the tone for the team. What you didn't see was how hard they worked every day in practice. And that's what made them so special."
With those three players now gone, Rondo is now the team's captain and leader. That same work ethic that drove the team all the way to a championship must be instilled in the next batch of C's, and it starts with Rondo. It's a lot harder to do that from the sidelines, as Rondo had to do for some time, but now that isn't an issue.
Rondo has played in 25 games for Boston this season, and is averaging 11.3 points, 9.4 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. The best news, though, is that there haven't been any issues with his surgically repaired knee or any other injuries. Thibodeau knows how difficult it is to come back from an injury like that, seeing as his star player, Derrick Rose, had the same injury that forced him to miss the entire 2012-13 season, only to return for 10 games this season before tearing his meniscus. Now that Rondo is back, though, Thibodeau envisions big things for him.
"It's a tough injury to overcome," Thibodeau said. "I think he's put the work in and just watching his growth overall from where he was when he first came in, he's experienced it all. When he first got here it wasn't a very good team. He got through it, starting point guard on a championship team, he's gained experience, now he's a veteran leader and he has a new challenge. I think he's one of their building blocks for the future."