Rajon Rondo's season-ending knee injury seemed to be a big blow to the Celtics' chances of reaching the playoffs.
How could Boston survive without its star point guard? But after going 6-0 since he was hurt, the answer is clear.
The Celtics adjusted quickly to coach Doc Rivers' new approach now that Rondo isn't controlling the ball. He wants them to shoot if they're open, pass quickly if they're not, and spread the court to get better looks at the basket.
After Rondo's last game, the Celtics held the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, just two games ahead of Philadelphia. Thursday night's 116-95 win over the Los Angeles Lakers left them in seventh place with a 26-23 record, 4½ games ahead of the 76ers and 1½ behind the sixth-place Atlanta Hawks.