Lee deal leaves summer C's shorthanded
E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Sean Williams were all held out of the Celtics' 91-82 loss to the Sacramento Kings, due to their apparent inclusion in a trade for free-agent guard Courtney Lee. Meanwhile, rookie Kris Joseph found himself limited by his left knee, which he hyperextended during the first half of Boston's 79-74 win over the Bulls on Tuesday. He was joined on the injury shelf shortly after by fellow rookie Fab Melo, who bruised his left hand early in the third quarter of Thursday's loss and didn't return.
Rivers, who's no stranger to having to alter his lineups due to injuries and other personnel moves, can certainly relate. Just last season the Celtics were forced to carry on without Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox (both battled heart ailments that required surgery), while Paul Pierce was limited by a sprained left MCL and shoulder surgery kept second-year shooting guard Avery Bradley out of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
"Now I see how it feels," Lue said when the comparison to Rivers was mentioned after the game. "It's a tough call, but I thought guys competed. I thought we played hard, but I didn't think today we shared the ball. I don't think we moved the ball, made the extra pass, hit guys when they were open. I thought we had a little head-dropping when things weren't going our way, which we haven't been accustomed to. But it's part of a learning experience, part of the guys growing up."
When asked about Lue's coaching performance prior to Thursday's tilt, Rivers joked that he should retire with just one loss between two summer leagues (the C's went 4-1 in Orlando last week) under his belt. Instead, things grew noticeably more difficult for the remaining members of Boston's Las Vegas roster. The C's are taking Friday off before wrapping up their slate in Vegas with a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday.
At the start of the week, Lue had plans to practice Friday, but Thursday left him with just seven healthy bodies, prompting the cancellation.
"Who are we going to practice with?" Lue quipped after Thursday's loss. "Fab's out, [Johnson], E'Twaun, everybody's gone. We've got seven players. What do you want us to do? Want me to suit up? Damon Jones? You want us to suit up, do something?"
Play Podcast NFL Films' Greg Cosell talks about the Ravens' improvement, the impact of Rob Gronkowski's injury, the Broncos' pass defense, whether Kirk Cousins is a better QB than Robert Griffin III and more.
Play Podcast Mark Schlereth talks about which outcomes could surprise him this weekend between the Patriots and Ravens. Why the Chiefs defense isn't as great as we thought it was, if Mike Shanahan could be throwing his final games in Washington and much more.
Play Podcast Ravens QB Joe Flacco talks about his health, Baltimore's win over the Lions, his team's four-game winning streak, preparing to face the Patriots, the keys to success in December and more.
Play Podcast Super Bowl XXXV champion Brian Billick dishes on Tom Coughlin's future with the Giants, the state of the NFC North, Patriots-Ravens and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday dishes on what Peyton Manning is like, Patriots-Ravens, the Cowboys' game management during the Packers' comeback and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski weighs in on Packers-Cowboys, the scrutiny of Tony Romo, Marc Trestman's decision to start Jay Cutler, Patriots-Dolphins, the Chiefs' offense and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter covers the criticism of Tony Romo after the Cowboys' loss to the Packers, the Giants' struggles, Tom Coughlin's future in New York, the state of the AFC and more.