Pierce has played with newfound furor since then, averaging 24.5 points over the last five games while regularly posting double-digit totals in rebounds and assists. It's a surprising development for a soon-to-be 35-year-old, but Pierce is hardly the only pleasant surprise for Boston this season.
Brandon Bass was an offensive diamond in the rough before he came to Boston. Given more playing time than at any previous point in his career, Bass has been the Celtics' top scorer off the bench and has even earned a few starts in Boston's thin frontcourt.
Chris Wilcox also seized the opportunity afforded him by Jermaine O'Neal's knee injury. Despite missing almost half the season thus far, Wilcox came on strong in the last three games. He did most of his work on the defensive end, although he exploded for 14 points in a victory over the Pacers.
When Ray Allen suffered an injury to his left ankle, the Celtics were still able to stretch the floor thanks to Mickael Pietrus' 3-point shooting. The wiry 6-foot-6 wingman is on pace for the highest 3-point shooting percentage of his career while playing effectively on defense.
No absence has been as glaring as Rajon Rondo's, though. Rondo remains out indefinitely with right wrist injury, and second-year guard Avery Bradley has been forced to step in. Bradley's statistics won't wow anybody, but his defense alone was invaluable in victories over the Magic (twice) and Pacers.