Celtics

Washburn On Toucher & Rich: ‘Weight Has Been Lifted’ From Celtics

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Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics waits for an inbounds pass against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics waits for an inbounds pass against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics are rolling without Rajon Rondo, winning their fourth straight Sunday afternoon with a 106-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Prior to the game, the Clippers reportedly talked with the Celtics about a potential trade for Kevin Garnett which would send guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Caron Butler to Boston in return for the 36-year-old All Star.

The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday morning, and said the pieces the Celtics would get in return don’t really meet Boston’s needs.

“I don’t see it happening. Garnett has a no-trade clause, and what (the Celtics) would get back doesn’t seem feasible,” said Washburn. “I don’t have any doubt the Clippers might be interested, but they would be approaching the luxury tax and (Clippers owner) Donald Sterling isn’t paying the luxury tax.”

While the Celtics lost Rondo for the season to an ACL injury last week, they are playing more complete basketball as a team. Why is that?

“The ball is moving, guys are playing with more confidence and they’re more free in the ability to score and do things. The weight has been lifted,” said Washburn. “Rondo is a great player, but he dominates the ball and gets you the ball in spots he wants it in. Now guys are playing with no pressure; no one really expects much out of them. Guys like Courtney Lee and Jason Terry are used to playing a free-er style where they can make more decisions on their own, and that’s what has been important.”

Captain Paul Pierce has stepped up in a big way, averaging 17.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists in the four games without Rondo. But he’s also averaged 37 minutes per game over that span, and there are concerns if the 35-year-old can keep up the pace for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.

“He’s taking a lot upon himself right now. He’s really showing he can take that team leader role. He’s rebounding a lot better, and he’s shooting a lot better,” Washburn said of Pierce. “I think it’s all about his minutes; you can’t play him 40 minutes. They’re going to have to lean on Jeff Green to relieve him; (Pierce) can’t keep up this pace but if you play him 32-33 minutes per game — and not 40 — I think he’ll be preserved for the playoffs and he’ll be fine.”

Also, Washburn talks about Jared Sullinger’s back surgery and the potential of the Celtics adding Greg Oden to their front-court.

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