When do we get to believe the evidence that this team is real?


I just watched the Celtics curb-stomp the Lakers for their 6th straight win since Rajon Rondo went down. And hardly anyone really thinks that means anything...after all, it's only 6 games. Or is it?

For YEARS now I've been pointing out that, according to regularized adjusted plus minus (RAPM) Rajon Rondo doesn't have nearly the impact on games that many believe. That he's not a negative, but he's also not extremely positive. The general consensus response on this board is that many don't believe all that much in the +/- stats, and that they're more interested in how a team does when a player is out entirely.

Over the last year I've pointed out several times that the Celtics have tended to play well when Rondo misses games. From 2010 - 2012 the Celtics went 17 - 10 for a 63% win percentage with a scoring margin of +5.5 with Rondo out. Over that same span when Rondo played the Celtics also had a 63% win percentage, but with a scoring margin of +3.7. The general consensus response on this board has been that this didn't mean anything, and that the real test is how the team would play if they knew he wasn't coming back.

This year I predicted before the season started that the Celtics would win 55 - 60 games if Rondo got hurt but everyone else stayed healthy. This season they've gone 8 - 3 with a +5.0 margin thus far with Rondo out (18 - 20, -1.8 margin with Rondo in). Since Avery Bradley returned from injury they are 7 - 0 with a scoring margin of +9.0 with Rondo out.

Despite all of that, the general consensus around the NBA and even on Celtics boards is that the Celtics are done. That the team should be blown up. That there's no chance without Rondo. That the recent win streak is all a fluke.

So my question here, what point are we allowed to believe the evidence? This isn't about a couple of games here or there anymore. This is now at least 4 years worth of +/- data and 4 years worth of stints without Rondo IN ADDITION TO them thriving now. And in the 7 straight wins for these Celtics without Rondo, they have NOT just beaten bottom feeders. They have a win at the Knicks. They beat the Heat. And when the Cs face the really bad teams, they don't just win... they blow them out (combined 31 point victories over Sacramento and Orlando...the Cs didn't win ANY 2 games in a row by that kind of scoring margin this season with Rondo).

I just don't get it. It's like no matter what the level of evidence, people absolutely refuse to consider even the possibility that perhaps they were misjudging the team before...that they weren't nearly as reliant on Rondo as many thought...and that in fact this team, as currently constructed, is actually EXTREMELY dangerous to the rest of the league. At this point, my only hope is that Danny doesn't blow it up before the evidence just gets so overwhelming that everyone is forced to reconsider their stance.

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