This sporting city gave recent basketball the now-abused prefix ‘Big’, therefore it is fair to say that the air is different since Ray Allen of the ‘Big Four’ and Celtics’ 2008 championship-winning team has left.
There was enough talk last season that Boston’s status in the league is waning – Kevin Garnett is 36, Paul Pierce is 35.
But the two somehow laboured to a combined 36.7 points per game.
Buddy and locker-room leader Allen will be replaced by Avery Bradley and the proven Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa, yet after some MVP performances this year, the centerpiece of the Eastern Conference finalists must be Rajon Rondo.
The point guard dished out 10+ assists for 24 consecutive regular season games, and this streak will resume on Tuesday against Miami, against whom he scored 44 points in May.
(Above) Kevin Garnett gestures to Paul Pierce.