Missing KG and Bass made it difficult for Celts

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Missing KG and Bass made it difficult for Celts

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.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)