OAKLAND, Calif. Not having Rajon Rondo gives the Boston Celtics a convenient out for Saturday night's 101-83 blowout loss at Golden State.
But truthfully, having Rondo would not have helped much when the Celtics played so poorly in so many different phases of the game.
It was a typical Celtics game with contributions - some good but mostly bad - coming from an assortment of players.
"Our problem all year has been the same problem," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "It's not everybody; it's two or three guys. It's all you need. And it's not the same guys. That's what has been so frustrating about this season."
Here's a review of some of the keys identified prior to tip-off as the Celtics suffer their second straight loss which drops them below .500 for the first time since Nov. 9.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Rajon Rondo needs to put his imprint on this game for the Celtics to be successful. That means doing what he does best - getting assists. The league's top assist man has failed to reach double digits in five of the Celtics' last six games.
WHAT WE SAW: Rondo's imprint was nowhere to be found during the game because Rondo (right hip) was a late scratch. While Doc Rivers doesn't think Rondo's injury is too serious, the 6-foot-1 point guard is questionable for Sunday's game at Sacramento.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs David Lee: Garnett has been solid as ever, but Lee has been on another level all season. In Golden State's win over Philadelphia on Friday, Lee had 25 points and 12 rebonds for his 13th 20-point, 10-rebound game this season - tops in the NBA.
WHAT WE SAW: This one wasn't even close, as Lee dominated Garnett in every way imaginable. Lee had more points. He grabbed more rebounds. But most important, he made a greater impact. Garnett's presence was simply a non-factor for most of the game.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Courtney Lee continues to gradually improve as the season goes on, but he still hasn't had that one defining moment-type game for the Celtics. They could use one tonight against a Golden State team that has quality scorers on the perimeter that he will have to contend with, in addition to a team that's playing solid defense.
WHAT WE SAW: Lee had a chance to play more with Rondo out, and to his credit he made the most of it. He was able to get more shots and responded with a season-high 18 points. But his contributions weren't nearly enough to keep the C's close, let alone position them to actually have a shot at winning.
STAT TO TRACK: The Celtics once again face a team whose strength will pose an even greater challenge to what has been the C's biggest weakness this season - rebounding. The Warriors are the league's fifth-best rebounding team this season while the Celtics maintain their position as the league's worst on the boards.
WHAT WE SAW: The rebounding battle was relatively close, but considering how well the Warriors shot all game and how the C's struggled with its shots, rebounding was never really a major contributor to the game's outcome one way or another.