Celtics stay undefeated in post-Rondo world

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Celtics stay undefeated in post-Rondo world

It wouldn't be right to comment on last night's Celtics win without first commenting on their opponent. It's not that I want to take away from Boston's second straight victory in the post-Rondo era, I just think that it's important to remember that the Kings stink. Very badly. Like Logan Mankins' jock strap after a Training Camp double session in the blistering summer sun.

Now to that, you might say: "Wait a second. Wasn't this the same Kings team that beat the Celtics by 26 points in December?"

And I'll respond: Not really.

The roster is the same, but back then the Kings were at home, and in the midst of BY FAR their best stretch of the season. The win over the Celtics was part of four victories in five games for Sacramento which is the only time they've achieved that all year.

But since then, the Kings have slowly deteriorated into the team that you saw last night. They've gone 4-10 in their last 14 games, with their only wins coming against the Cavs, Bobcats and Wizards (x2). And just for good measure, the entire organization and fan base has been caught in a whirlwind of emotion surrounding the team's potential move to Seattle.

At least for now, it's bad to be the King(s). And that was certainly the case last night.

But with all that being said, there was something truly refreshing about the Celtics' performance. I'm not going to say that it was because Rondo wasn't there, because even if that's the case, it was a win against the Kings. It doesn't prove anything in terms of answering the question: Are the Celtics are better without their point guard?

I'll admit that it's a little strange to hear players like Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass speak on the record about how much more comfortable they are without Rondo on the floor. But at the same time, of course, they're more comfortable. It means they get more shots. For Terry and Lee, they get more minutes. Name me a player who wouldn't be more comfortable with that arrangement. The question is whether, in the long run, the Celtics are better off with Rondo on the floor, or with a happier crew of role players and that won't be answered for sometime.

But in the meantime, no one will complain about performances like last night. Even if it came against the dregs of the NBA, seeing the hometown team click and actually look like they enjoy each other's company is a welcomed sight. And chances are we'll see it again tomorrow night, when the C's host a Magic squad that's lost 18 of its last 20 games and just lost Glen Davis to a broken drum stick. Orlando will be ripe for a Kings-like beat down.

After that? Well, Super Bowl Sunday brings a big time match-up to the Garden: The Los Angeles Clippers.

Granted, the Clips will likely be without Chris Paul, but that only seems fair. It would be even more fair if Blake Griffin hops in that Kia Time Machine and comes back as the 37-year-old version of his current self.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Raptors at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.