BOSTON Not having Kevin Garnett certainly played a role in the Boston Celtics' 98-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night.
And while Garnett's defense was clearly something they would have liked, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was just as concerned with how Garnett's absence - as well as Brandon Bass - would impact the game's outcome.
Pistons head coach, and former Celtics assistant, Lawrence Frank's defensive game plan capitalized on this most of the night.
"Lawrence obviously knew that," Rivers said.
In fact, not having Garnett and Bass had a major impact on the play of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, who often are able to operate in one-on-one situations because of the perimeter threat that Garnett and Bass present.
Without those two, Pierce was 3-for-11 shooting. Allen wasn't any better, missing four of his five shots. They each finished with 10 points.
"They trapped Ray and Paul every time they caught the ball without worrying about our bigs popping for shots like we do," Rivers said.
Rookie JaJuan Johnson has some of the skills to help offset not having Garnett and Bass. But even he acknowledges that in terms of making an impact, he has plenty of room to grow, and a lot to learn still.
In terms of what he takes away from Wednesday's loss, Johnson said, "just paying attention to detail. I'm still learning the game. It's just a learning experience for myself."
The same can be said for the Celtics, who have to adjust to life - temporarily at least - without Bass and potentially Garnett, too.