Rondo out vs. Warriors

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Rondo out vs. Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. As if the Boston Celtics needed any more setbacks in their backcourt, the absence of Rajon Rondo might be the biggest to date.

The NBA's assists leader will misstonight's game against Golden State with a right quadhip injury that he suffered in Boston's 106-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the C's knew prior to the shoot-around Saturday morning that Rondo wouldn't be available.

"So we at least were able to work on some stuff with all the guards we have," quipped Rivers. "All two of them."

Joining Jason Terry in the starting backcourt will be Courtney Lee.

Not that Rivers had much of a choice.

Leandro Barbosa who has missed the last three games while attending to a personal matter, will not arrive in time to play intonight's game. But the C's are optimistic that he will be available on Sunday at Sacramento.

And Avery Bradley is not with the C's on this trip. He remains on track to make his season debuton Jan. 2.

Boston comes into tonight's game having lost two of the three previous games this season with Rondo out.

Lee, who will likely begin the game as the C's point guard, is no stranger to manning the point position.

Although the Celtics signed him in the offseason primarily as a shooting guard who could play some at small forward, injuries and unexpected setbacks have forced him to revert back to his point guard-playing days in Orlando and most recently, Houston.

"My mindset definitely changes without Rondo," Lee toldCSNNE.com. "I know my role changes. I'll be ready."

Not having Rondo available does indeed have a domino effect on the entire Celtics roster, forcing some players to be on the floor for extended minutes.

But to do that and have essentially no guards on the bench with Lee and Jason Terry starting, will make for a challenging night for the Celtics particularly when it comes to running their offense.

"Him (Lee) and JT (Terry) and Paul (Pierce) will be our point guard at times," Rivers said. "Whoever is getting pressured, the other guy will bring the ball up the floor."

Boston's defense won't change, but the approach by his players - the guards especially - just might.

"They (Golden State) have really good guards," Rivers said. "The likelihood of none of our guards getting in foul trouble with the way they play ... that's going to be hard. If someone gets in foul trouble, they play with fouls. It's not like we can sub them out and save them."

That does not bode well for a Celtics team that even when they had decent depth, at times didn't play with the kind collective aggression - Kevin Garnett calls it playing "firm" - that's needed in order to be successful.

"We haven't talked about it," Rivers said. "That may be human nature. If that is, I'll call a time-out and tell them to stop it. That's all you can do.

Rivers added, "you gotta play your way."

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

After a 3-0 start, the Ravens dropped a 28-27 decision to the Raiders in Baltimore. That started a four-game skid for Baltimore which included back-to-back losses at the Jets and Giants. But they got back on track against the Steelers and have won four out of five with their only being to the Cowboys. It’s hard to get a clean read on who they really are. 

They had narrow, early-season wins over crap teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville. They had a narrow loss to an outstanding Raiders team and were close with the Cowboys but got run over late with Dallas scoring on its last five possessions. They are coming off their most impressive team win, a 38-6 triumph over the Dolphins. 

This game is a big one in the AFC race not just because it’s a divisional leader but also because it will be a common game between the Patriots and Raiders. The Raiders already beat Baltimore. 

The Pats need to keep pace in a tiebreaker they currently trail. Weird schedule quirk? The Ravens have had only one road game that required a long commute since September. That was the game at Dallas. They just played six of their last nine and four of their last five at home.

LAST 5

Ravens 21, Steelers 14
Ravens 28, Browns 7
At Cowboys 27, Ravens 17
Ravens 19, Bengals 14
Ravens 38, Dolphins 6

OFFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

More than half of Joe Flacco’s 323 completions have gone to three players: tight end Dennis Pitta (61 catches), wide receiver Mike Wallace (57) and wide receiver Steve Smith (54). Those players are 31, 30 and 37 respectively so it’s a veteran group.
Flacco is 114 of 159 (72 percent) with nine touchdowns and three picks in Baltimore’s last four games. He has 15 TDs and 11 picks this season.

The Ravens don’t run it much: 502 pass attempts, 287 rushing attempts. Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon are the lead backs. West has carried more than 15 times in a game on three occasions this season.

Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been playing very well as has the rest of the Ravens offensive line in recent weeks. Still, Baltimore is just at 34.1 on third down conversions.

DEFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

The Ravens have allowed 207 points this season, tied with the Patriots for lowest in the AFC and just behind Seattle (194) overall.
Baltimore’s allowing just 33.3 percent conversions on third down and only 3.4 yards per carry.

Opposing quarterbacks are completing 64.1 percent of their passes and have 21 touchdown passes and 14 picks against the Ravens defense. Ten of the Ravens 14 picks came against the Browns, Jaguars and in last week’s rout of Miami.
 
WHERE ARE THEIR HEADS AT

"I just think they've got a great team. They've got Tom Brady. They've been the best team in the conference, and it's going to be our toughest challenge of the year." – John Harbaugh, Ravens coach, on Monday night’s matchup

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

Thomas (groin) out Wednesday vs. Magic

The Boston Celtics are used to this playing without a key starter thing, so tonight’s game at Orlando won’t be all that different than most of their games this season.
 
Isaiah Thomas will not play tonight against the Magic due to a right groin injury he suffered in Monday’s 107-106 loss at Houston.
 
Thomas flew back to Boston Tuesday night.
 
Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters he is leaning towards having Marcus Smart, who filled in earlier for an injured Jae Crowder, start in place of Thomas.
 
The injury occurred in the second quarter of the Rockets game, but Thomas continued to play on as he knocked down a 3-point shot just moments after he first began grimacing while holding the groin.
 
Following the loss, Thomas acknowledged the injury did bother him for the rest of the game as he finished with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting.
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” Thomas told reporters. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who was named to his first all-star team last season, has been even more dynamic offensively this year.
 
He leads the Celtics with a career-high 26 points per game and has been ranked among the NBA’s top 10 scorers most of this season.
 
It is too soon to tell if the injury will sideline him for one game, or whether he’ll be out for an extended period of time.