WALTHAM The veterans were back on the floor for the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers was running practice and Rajon Rondo - back from a two-game suspension - was running the show.
His return always bodes well for the Celtics who are looking to get on a roll after a lackluster start to the season that has them at 9-8 with the Minnesota Timberwolves in town on Wednesday.
Doc Rivers doesn't for a minute take for granted the impact of having his three-time all-star back in the fold.
"Rondo's is important," Rivers said. "But Kevin (Garnett) is important, Paul (Pierce) ... we should have won both games without Rondo. Having said that, we need him. It's a team game, guys. The day that one guy is going to change a team, make them win every game, that's not going to happen."
Maybe not, but having Rondo certainly gives the Celtics as good a chance as they'll have in reaching their max potential.
While away from the game, Rondo had a chance to watch the C's battle on without him, and came away impressed.
"They moved the ball really well without me," said Rondo, the league's leader in assists with 12.9 per game.
Indeed, his absence afforded other players an opportunity to play more extended minutes and just as important, contribute in ways that might prove beneficial to the Celtics later this season.
"That'll help anybody out," said C's Courtney Lee, referring to extended minutes in Rondo's absence. "You can play through your mistakes, you can play (more) aggressively."
But Rondo's back, and his mindset now is to get the Celtics back to winning.
"I want to get better," he said. "I want to run off by eight or nine games straight. I just want to go out there and give it my all for my teammates, and get some wins."
Said Jeff Green: "When he's there, he's our captain, he's our leader. He knows where everybody is supposed to be on the floor. It's a lot easier when he is here."
Paul Pierce echoed similar comments about Rondo.
"A lot of things we do revolve around Rondo," Pierce said. "Our tempo, our offensive sets ... he's vital to this offense."
But as important as it is for Rondo to be back, Rivers understands that the C's success has to involve others as well.
"It's a team game, guys," Rivers said. "The day that one guy is going to change a team, make them win every game, that's not going to happen."