When the Celtics host the Sacramento Kings at the TD Garden tonight, they'll be doing it with Rajon Rondo nowhere to be seen. With their All-Star point guard sidelined by a torn ACL, the C's now look ahead to the challenge of playing without their fallen floor general.
"We understand that we don't have him," coach Doc Rivers said. "It's another challenge, and I think everybody will be up for it."
Without Rondo and his league-leading 11.1 assists per game, the offense will look a little different. The C's aren't looking for a "replacement," per se. There's no replacing Rondo -- no journeyman point guard sitting on the free-agency scrap heap with the court vision and playmaking brilliance of the C's superstar. Instead, the team will look for a collective effort. Playmaking by committee.
"It's got to be our ball movement," Rivers said. "We don't have a guy anymore that's talented enough to hold the ball and create plays with his eyes and orchestrate. That's just not who we are anymore. So when you don't have a shot and you can't make a play, you have to make a quicker decision to move the ball. That's it. It's just that simple."
The Celtics' starting guards going forward will be Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley, neither of whom is typically billed as a point guard. And at least for now, neither one of them will assume that role on a full-time basis.
"It doesn't matter," Lee said. "Either one of us is going to be the point guard. We worked on it in practice -- Avery started off running the plays, but then in transition, if I get the rebound, I'll be able to run the plays and whatnot. It's the same thing with Paul [Pierce], too. You can look at all of us as point guards."
So the C's have zero point guards in their lineup, but in a way, they have five. Take that for what it's worth.