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The Celtics have a cornerstone of principles for how they must win games without Rondo: ball movement, playing up-tempo, earning key defensive stops, a balanced scoring effort. They’ve drifted from these ideas at times, but they’ve been able to recover enough to eke out wins, which is why they had piled up 14 of them in 18 games before Sunday.
In game No. 19, though, the Celtics learned how costly those lapses and mistakes can be, a lesson they’d do well to remember as the playoffs near.