Celtics beat Heat in double overtime without Rondo, 100-98

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Celtics beat Heat in double overtime without Rondo, 100-98

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.

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to NBA standings, no Celtic pays closer attention to it than Isaiah Thomas.
 
But the 5-foot-9 All-Star is quick to say that while he’s aware of what’s happening with other teams record-wise, Thomas, like his teammates, isn’t obsessed with it, even with the Celtics (48-26) now in first place in the East following Cleveland’s loss at San Antonio on Monday.
 
“It’s a good feeling,” Thomas said. “It’s still not the end of the year; anything can happen. It’s a nice feeling to be the number one seed for once, but we just have to continue to control what we can control.”

The fact that Boston is even in position to finish with the best record in the East is amazing when you consider injuries and illnesses have forced them to use 13 different starting lineups this season.
 
And the preferred starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Amir Johnson has played together 31 times and posted an impressive 24-7 record.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been consistent in his message that while having the best record in the East is nice, he’s more consumed with the team continuing to improve.
 
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now,” Stevens said of being in first place. “The whole idea is to make progress, get better every day and stay in the moment. You do that if you’re in last place trying to build up or whether you’re in a position where you’re fighting for seeding. Ultimately, we’ve been able to grow and get a little bit better. But I still think we can play a lot better. That’s where my focus is.”
 
And the same holds true for his players. Thomas knows how unusual this season has been for the Celtics, who continue finding ways to win despite frequently being short-handed.
 
The latest example of that involves forward Jonas Jerebko, who is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee because of a sore left knee that limited him in Tuesday’s practice.
 
“It’s a long season. A lot of things can happen whether they be good or bad and we know that,” Thomas said. “We just try to withstand the storm we’ve had a few times this year, and continue to try and stay as positive as possible and we’ve done that. We’re in a good position right now. We just have to continue to take care of business.”
  
And that means steadily improving while piling up the wins, particularly against teams such as the Bucks (37-36), who are among a handful of teams that could potentially be Boston’s first-round opponent.
 
Milwaukee comes in having won 11 of its past 14 games.

“It makes the game that much more important,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “Just like the Miami game. We want to let the teams know now, they go up against us in the playoffs, it’s no mercy. We’re going to play hard. We’re going to bring it every single night. We’re going to play Celtics basketball every single night. Them knowing that, we can scare a lot of teams if we’re playing the right way.”

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
 
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
 
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
 
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
 
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
 
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.