How will C's replace Rondo?
When Rondo missed a game against the Nets earlier this month due to an ankle injury, Leandro Barbosa was inserted in the starting lineup alongside Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, and Kevin Garnett. Alas, that lineup is a cringe-worthy minus-13 over 11 minutes of floor time, having been outscored 26-13 by opponents. That unit was outscored 13-6 in a four-minute stint to start the game against Brooklyn and the Nets' lead soon ballooned to double figures as they ran away with the game (aided by their first-half domination on the glass). The unit finished minus-11 over eight minutes together that game.
Rivers could toy with the idea of a Terry/Courtney Lee backcourt at the start of these two games. That unit with Pierce, Bass, and Garnett is plus-1 over a mere 13 minutes of floor time this season, outscoring opponents 20-19, but shooting just 33 percent during that small span.
Now, these two sample sizes are way too small to draw any sort of hard conclusions. On the surface, the Lee lineup has been more competitive, but also forces Terry to play more at the point guard position, something Rivers has shied away from.
The easy route here seems to be riding it out with Barbosa as a starter and keeping Lee with the second unit. Lee showed some encouraging signs in the second half of Wednesday's loss to the Nets and Boston needs him to build off that, particularly without Rondo.
With Jeff Green (knee) and Chris Wilcox (illness) questionable for Friday's game against the Trail Blazers, the Celtics could be forced to roll out all sorts of atypical lineups. These are the type of games where Boston needs it overall dearth of talent to take over and mask the difficulties imposed by losing key contributors.
While losing maybe your most important player is never a good thing, the next two games are a chance for those players that have struggled early in the 2012-13 season to assert themselves and help shoulder the load.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter weighs in on the Panthers' WR situation, Julian Edelman's future with the Patriots, Vince Wilfork's decision to ask for his release and more.
Play Podcast "Spanning the Globe" features ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss, Yahoo! Sports' Eric Edholm and ESPN LA 710's Mark Willard.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.