• Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo is out tonight with a bruised right hip, which leaves coach Doc Rivers exceedingly shorthanded in his backcourt. Courtney Lee will start alongside Jason Terry, with no real backups to speak of — Leandro Barbosa will miss his fourth straight game due to a personal matter and Avery Bradley is still in Boston still recovering from shoulder surgeries. Rivers said Rondo incurred the injury Thursday against the Clippers and might be able to play as quickly as Sunday night in Sacramento, where the Celtics finish this four-game road trip. Barbosa is expected back for that contest.
  • Without Rondo’s league-leading 11.7 assists per game, expect to see ballhandling by committee for the Celtics. “(Lee) and JT and Paul (Pierce) will be our point guard at times,” Rivers said. “Whoever’s getting pressured, the other guy will bring the ball up the floor.”
  • Lee and Terry will have to play through foul trouble, Rivers said. “We have to watch the pace tonight,” Rivers said. “We will run, but we have to control it, because a couple of guys are going to have to play a lot of minutes.”
  • The Celtics (14-14) are looking to avoid dropping under .500 for the first time since Nov.9, when Boston sat at 2-3.
  • The Warriors are gunning for their 12th win this month, which would tie the franchise record for December victories, set when the club was in its final season in Philadelphia (1961-62). Of course, with the Clippers winning 16 straight, Golden State has still fallen four games off the pace in the Pacific Division.

– Geoff Lepper

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