Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is expected to miss the rest of the season… (Jared Wickerham / Getty…)
Rajon Rondo may have gotten his last assist of the season. And he did so while wearing street clothes.
The Boston Celtics point guard got an enthusiastic response from the crowd when he entered the arena at TD Garden during the second overtime of Sunday's game against the Miami Heat. Many of the fans already knew the news that an MRI had determined Rondo had torn his right anterior cruciate ligament, a season-ending injury.
The players did not learn the extent of Rondo's injury until after the game. But whether it was the presence of their teammate on the bench or the reaction he garnered from the crowd, something sparked the Celtics to finally put the game away, as they scored five unanswered points in the final minute for a 100-98 victory.
Jason Terry, one of the guards expected to pick up the slack in Rondo's absence, started the rally with a driving layup at the 51-second mark to help the Celtics overcome the defending NBA champs and snap a six-game losing streak.
But make no mistake about it -- Rondo will be missed. He was well on his way to one of the best, if not the best, years of his career, averaging 13.7 points (tied for his all-time high), 5.6 rebounds (his best by far) and a league-leading 11.1 assists (the third straight year over 11).
“Obviously, that's a blow," Coach Doc Rivers said of Rondo's injury. "It's a huge blow for us.”
Forward Paul Pierce said of Rondo: "Pretty much wherever he goes, we go. It’s hard knowing that he’s going to be out for the year. It’s a tough pill to swallow."
But, he added, "we still like our chances in the Eastern Conference.”
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