There will be a loud ovation at TD Garden tonight when the Celtics play the Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals.

But it won't be especially loud for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, who are certainly fan favorites.

No, the loudest cheers will be for Rajon Rondo.

Rondo's grit in Game Three might be the reason the Celtics advance past the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

After returning from the locker room with a dislocated elbow, the Celtics looked motivated by Rondo's courage. He energized the crowd, and his teammates, and that means a lot in the playoffs.

The injury was ugly, and it initially appeared that Rondo would at least be sidelined for several days. But his return to the game, and his ability to play with mainly his right arm, likely served as inspiration. The Celtics need to show some heart, and Rondo sure gave it to them.

Rondo only scored six points, and had five turnovers, but his presence on the parquet made up for it.

For a team that may seem predictable with the same four starters for the past four seasons, the Celtics needed something like that.