In a move that stunned absolutely nobody, it was announced this afternoon that Rajon Rondo will be suspended for Game 2 of the Boston Celtics' first-round series against Atlanta.
The loss of Rondo, coupled with the continued questionable status of Ray Allen, makes the already-thin Celtics even thinner. Boston's bench accounted for a grand total of four points in Game 1 and Rondo's absence means that one of those guys that did a whole bunch of nothing last night will now be inserted into the starting lineup. The likely candidates to jump into the starting rotation would be Keyon Dooling or Mickael Pietrus.
There are a few ways that Doc Rivers can play this situation, only one of which I have some sort of confidence about. One scenario would see Dooling start and run the point while Avery Bradley stays at the shooting guard. This would give the Celtics a veteran guy who has playoff experience and a cool demeanor the chance to run the show and it would allow Bradley, who struggled mightily in his first career playoff start and may have froze under the postseason pressure, to stay in his familiar role and give him some sort of comfort level. Another scenario would be reversing those roles and changing some things up for Bradley to get his game going while all Dooling has to do is hit jumpers. A third scenario would be to replace Dooling with Pietrus, possibly for defensive purposes and a little more of a spark to start the game.
Then there's the scenario which I think Doc will actually do, and is probably the best choice: Have Paul Pierce play point forward. The Celtics would team Bradley up with the reserve of Doc's choice in the backcourt — which would probably be Dooling — and let Pierce run the show. Bradley and/or Dooling will be listed in the "point guard" position but that doesn't mean that those guys have to do all of the duties that the position entails. Pierce could then play a two- or three-man game with Brandon Bass and/or Kevin Garnett, which could then open cutting lanes for Bradley and open corner threes for Dooling, Pietrus or Pavlovic.
Remember, the Celtics were without Rajon Rondo for eight games when he injured his wrist early in the season and they went 6-2. Of course, they also had Ray Allen at the time and Avery Bradley wasn't blinded by the lights, but they proved that they can win without Rondo. Stealing Game 2 — a game that the Celtics would absolutely love to have — would have been much easier with Rondo, but Boston has done nothing but overcome adversity all season long.
They should be used to it by now. So in all honesty, what's one more adversity-filled playoff game for this group of Celtics?
read more: What the suspension of Rajon Rondo means for the Boston Celtics