Their hot streak in Rajon Rondo’s absence is, exactly, a case of identity distillation. As LeBron does forMiami, K.G. and Pierce are happy to key their team. While they leave their cast a lot more work than James and Wade do, the cast is doubly capable of filling in, and now they’re less confused about what’s expected of them. In his first year as unchecked team leader, Rondo seemed confused about how much to shoot, pass, save himself for defense, seek rebounds… in short, he seemed overwhelmed, and his team seemed to have a hard time relying on him as a consistent source of anything. Pierce and Garnett boast predictable outputs, are still excellent, and also provide a very strong intangible element of pride. Whether the team is better without Rondo is an absurd query: of course they aren’t. But it’s clear that, for now, they’re still in best shape when defining themselves around their hall-of-famers.
I encourage you to read the rest of the article at Red94.net.
I think it's pretty spot on, personally.
It's also a good explanation for why the future for this team once KG and Pierce are gone (whether traded or just retired) is still very murky.