The Rajon-less Celtics will host the Portland Trail Blazers and their electrifying 1-4 combo of Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge tonight in the TD Garden. The Celtics will be without Rondo tonight, so Courtney Lee will get the start alongside Jason Terry, per Gary Washington of the Boston Globe.
Without Rajon in the lineup, the Celtics will miss out on 12.9 assists and the fulcrum that they fly on. Doc Rivers said before the game that everyone is going to have to step up and play a little point guard tonight to replace Rondo’s production, per the Celtics twitter account.
Here’s the exact quote right here:
When you don’t have a PG you have to try to get your team to play as simple as possible. -Doc Rivers
We’ll probably see Paul Pierce taking care of the load when it comes to ball handling. I’m sure that there will be plenty of ball movement to go around though. You don’t become one of the top assist teams in the league by sitting around. It takes motion and patience. That’s something that the Celtics veterans have.
They won’t need to worry about much defensively because after the Blazers starting unit, there is nothing on this team offensively. They have one of the worst benches in NBA history. The Portland bench is only scoring 12.3 points per game which is atrocious. The Celtic’s second unit will need to take advantage of this lack of offensive firepower.
The Celtics haven’t had trouble with playing without Rondo in the past. They went 10-5 in the games that he missed last season. This season has been a completely different story. They were dominated by the Brooklyn Nets in their first game without Rondo this season and lost the last game without him as well–though, it seemed like they were going to lose anyway.
Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox are available for tonight’s action. Wilcox likely will not play because of an illness.