Pregame notes: Rondo likely to play

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Rajon Rondo is likely to play tonight against the Toronto Raptors.

“He’s been cleared a 100 percent, he’s passed every test," Rivers said. "The only thing I gave [Celtics head trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and Rondo: He’d have to be 100 percent -- no 'close' -- and he is. I told him most likely but I really haven’t made up my mind yet."

With three days off after tonight’s game with the Raptors, Rivers said he may still decide to hold Rondo out. And if he does change his mind, his point guard may not like it but he won’t make an issue of it.

“He’s been good,” Rivers said. "He’s said, ‘What other test can I pass?’ So I’m trying to create one."

Rivers said Rondo was great in shootaround Friday morning, and that he’ll start if he plays.

Rivers said the team’s recent injury woes, including losing Delonte West to a broken right wrist, didn’t weigh in on the decision to play Rondo tonight.

“We needed him tonight, but we were ready to do what we needed to do if Rondo didn’t play,” he said. “Listen, Rondo was out and we kept playing and kept winning. I think that’s this team. Because of the way camp and this season has gone they’re ready for anyone to be injured and just keep playing and keep winning. And I think that helps.”

Chief among them

When Shaquille O’Neal recorded his monster, 25-point, 11-rebound double-double against New Jersey on Wednesday, he joined some exclusive company in Celtics history. ESPN Stats & Information reports that before O’Neal reached the 25-10 mark at 38 years, 262 days old, the 30 oldest Celtics to record that impressive box score line in the past 25 years had one thing in common: They were all named Robert Parish.

His effort against the Nets places Shaq third on the list of oldest Celtics to record a 25-point, 10-rebound game. The Chief also managed 25-10 in games at age 40 years, 79 days and 40 years, 262 days.

Getting defensive late, often

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Celtics haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points in the fourth quarter in their past five games. That’s the longest such streak in the league this season, tied with a Portland Trail Blazers streak from last season, and one shy of the Denver Nuggets’ six-game streak in 2005.