The Celtics' Big Three is now down to a Colossal Couple, but you really have to look elsewhere anyway when it comes to a breath of hope in a Shamrock season being choked by injuries .?.?. after it was nearly left for dead by uninspired play.

The Celts used to be able to count on a significant edge at point guard, particularly when the lights were brightest in the playoffs. But Rajon Rondo is gone with a torn right ACL. And with Jared Sullinger done for the year after back surgery following his ascension to the starting lineup, the C's have lost their best interior converter of garbage to glory.

In the search for reasons to believe they can still accomplish something today against the Clippers and in these next months, the Celtics have had to look pineward. Their bench has been a critical advantage as they've fashioned a three-game Rondo-less winning streak.

The reserves outscored Orlando's by 12 (43-31) in a 13-point victory Friday, and a 24-point bench edge led to an 18-point margin over Sacramento Wednesday. In the two-point double-overtime win over Miami last Sunday, the Celts subs beat the Heat help, 39-29. Even in Atlanta a week ago Friday, the bench stepped up with a 45-21 win in a 12-point overall loss.