With Rajon Rondo out for the season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, recently retired Celtics guard and now player development coordinator Keyon Dooling told the Globe that he would think about a comeback.
Dooling, 32, retired after last season following shocking revelations that he was sexually abused as a child. He joined the Celtics front office in October and has been working in an advisory role, taking selected road trips with the club.
He said he has entertained thoughts of return to the court, and the Celtics now have a need for a veteran point guard.
“I’m not in shape, but I would [consider it],” he told the Globe after the Celtics’ 100-98 double-overtime win over the Heat Sunday at TD Garden.
After taking a chunk of last year’s lockout-shortened season to find his role, Dooling flourished in the second half and playoffs. His retirement came as a surprise to the organization, which had just re-signed him to a contract for 2012-13. But he said after his revelation that he wanted to concentrate more on community efforts.
But Dooling has given indications over the past few months that he has missed the game. Sunday was the first time he said on record that he would think about coming out of retirement.
Coach Doc Rivers gave no indication whether the club would seek a point guard through the free agent marker or by trade.
Triple-double for Pierce
Pierce became the latest Celtic to record a triple-double, with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. It was his first triple-double since Dec. 19, 2010 against the Pacers.
Pierce has been struggling from the field, but his rebounding and defense against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Sunday was sparkling.
“Responsibilities definitely go up when you have Rondo out of the game,” Pierce said. “[I have to be] more of a facilitator. Have to do a little bit of everything for this ball club. That’s about it. You know my shot, it’s going to fall. It’s not something that I’m worried about. You know I still have a lot of intangibles. The knowhow, I know how to play this game. And most importantly, I’m happy we won.”
Pierce, who went 6 for 16 from the field, is shooting 39.2 percent from the floor this month and is 6 for his last 36 from the 3-point line.
Rivers has been looking for some spark from the starting lineup and inserted rookie Jared Sullinger back into the first five after nearly three months coming off the bench. Sullinger has been one of the Celtics’ more impressive players this season, averaging 7.5 points and 7.6 rebounds this month.
Brandon Bass had gone scoreless in two of the past four games entering Sunday. Sullinger has outplayed Bass most of the season, but when Rivers tried starting the rookie for a three-game stretch in November he was plagued with early fouls. Sullinger is fifth in the NBA in fouls per game with 3.5 and has fouled out of eight games this season.
Rivers said the starting lineup needs more energy.
“More just because Jared is playing well,” the coach said. “Honestly I don’t love it because I worry about our bench. Our bench has been off the charts and that may affect them, but we’re doing it because he’s playing so well.”
Sullinger has become indispensable because of his rebounding and defense. Bass, meanwhile, has struggled with rebounding and scoring.
“I really liked [Sullinger], I’ve seen him for a long time,” Rivers said. “I just thought he would do what he does. We’ve talked about and I’ve said it, ‘rebounders in college are rebounders in the pros.’ That’s the one thing usually translates over, and it does.”
Sullinger finished with 7 points and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes with just one foul. Bass was 1 for 5 for 6 points with 4 rebounds in 14 minutes. Jeff Green got the chunk of the playing time at power forward, logging a season-high 42 minutes.
Rivers was upset and disappointed when Ray Allen signed with the Heat, telling him it was a mistake when he agreed to a two-year $6 million contract instead of the Celtics’ two-year, $12 million offer with a no-trade clause. Rivers Sunday reiterated his sentiments from July, saying that he wished Allen would have returned.
Rivers clapped vigorously during the Celtics’ video tribute to Allen during the first quarter.
“I wanted him to stay here, but if you’re going to leave, a pretty good place to go,” Rivers said. “Eighty degrees, no state taxes and playing with three pretty good players and young so . . . after he didn’t come to us and I kept saying that, I had no problem where he went. Now as I fan, I get it, too. I understand that.”
Going extra mile
It was the Celtics’ first consecutive double-overtime games since March 11 and 13, 1951. They lost both games, at Minneapolis and at home to Rochester . . . Sullinger was assessed a technical along with Miami swingman Rashard Lewis with 2:46 left in the half. After a Sullinger layup, Lewis grabbed the ball out of the hoop and kept his arms around Sullinger’s neck, walking several feet with him in a Three Stooges-like routine. Sullinger finally pushed Lewis off of him, prompting official Gary Zielinski to assign double technicals . . . Allen attempted a season-high 17 shots . . . Leandro Barbosa, expected to get more playing time in Rondo’s absence, scored 9 points and had 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 30 minutes. Rivers has promised to use Barbosa more often because of his scoring ability.Gary Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe