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Celtics lose players and win games

NBA COAST TO COAST

Boston might not make any big changes to roster at trade deadline.

February 16, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is out for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is out for the season after tearing the anterior… (Jared Wickerham / Getty…)

Lamenting the departed in Boston

Rajon Rondo was lost for the season and the Boston Celtics continued to win.

Jared Sullinger was lost for the season and the Celtics continued to win.

Leandro Barbosa was lost for the season and … well, you get the idea.

The injury-plagued Celtics headed into the All-Star break with a healthy share of eight wins in their last nine games since Rondo sustained a torn knee ligament late last month, the first in a series of bad injury news for the franchise.

Given Boston's success without its top point guard and two valuable reserves, might the Celtics be best served by doing nothing before Thursday's trade deadline?

Not necessarily. In an interview with Boston radio station WEEI, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge recalled the short-term boost his team received a few years ago when Brian Scalabrine replaced an injured Kevin Garnett in the starting lineup.

"Scal came in and for a short period of time, I think we went like 9-2," Ainge said. "Our numbers were actually just as good at that moment. But there's a big difference. Star players can do it over sustained periods of time and … sometimes short samples can be deceiving."

Ainge said the Celtics would assess ways to strengthen themselves via trade or free-agent signings in the coming days. One possible addition would be free-agent point guard Delonte West, though West's erratic personality isn't the only thing that could give Ainge pause.

"It's a difficult thing for players to not play basketball all year who haven't played since last April," Ainge said, "and expect them to come in and be able to contribute."

Follow the bouncing ball

Mike Dunlap probably didn't have to deal with this kind of thing when he coached at Cal Lutheran.

Charlotte Bobcats guard Ben Gordon reportedly ignored Dunlap's request to stop bouncing a ball while his coach spoke at a shoot-around Monday. He also allegedly refused to give the ball to Dunlap before throwing it toward a ball rack.

Rod Higgins, Charlotte's president of basketball operations, eventually intervened on behalf of Dunlap.

The Bobcats did not suspend Gordon, possibly indicating that they did not want to diminish his value by drawing attention to his behavior before the trade deadline. Brooklyn's Kris Humphries has been mentioned as one possible trade partner.

Gordon and Dunlap have already met a few times regarding Gordon's role with the team. If the highest-paid Bobcat is making a case to become a starter again, this won't help.

Call it Moneyball.com

Once widely hailed as nothing more than numerical gobbledygook, advanced statistics are going mainstream.

The NBA has put figures such as true shooting percentage and defensive efficiency on its website, making statistics that interest an increasing segment of fans readily available.

The league's database at nba.com/stats also contains every box score in league history and allows fans to examine players' shooting tendencies, among other things.

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