W2W4: Celtics vs. Lakers (Game 41 of 82)

The Boston Celtics (14-26, 9-11 home) host the Los Angeles Lakers (14-25, 6-14 away) on Friday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

  • RONDO'S RETURN: You might have heard a little something by now about the fact that point guard Rajon Rondo, 11 months removed from ACL surgery, will make his 2013-14 season debut Friday. Rondo will be on a minute restriction (18-20 minutes total; 5-minute bursts), but his presence ought to give Boston an emotional jolt, even more than having the rival (albeit Kobe Bryant-less) Lakers in town.

  • LAKERS AT A GLANCE: The Lakers rank 22nd in the league in offensive rating and 27th in defensive rating. They are no longer the dominant team they used to be on the glass, ranking 29th in defensive rebound rate and 30th in total rebound percentage. About the only major advanced category they rank high in is pace, which should come as no surprise for a Mike D'Antoni system. The Celtics catch a minor break with Nick Young, the Lakers' leading scorer (16.4 points per game), suspended for one game after throwing a punch toward Phoenix's Goran Dragic in a loss on Wednesday. The Lakers have gotten a boost from Suns' castaway Kendall Marshall, who is averaging 9.9 points and 8.6 assists over 29.5 minutes per game in 11 appearances, including seven starts.

  • LOOSE BALLS: STREAKY LAKERS: From Stats LLC: The Lakers have lost 12 of their last 13 with a pair of six-game losing streaks. Los Angeles has given up an average of 120.7 points during its latest six-game skid. ... Rondo shouldn't be the only reinforcements arriving for Boston. Joel Anthony, acquired from Miami this week in a three-way trade should be available after joining the team Thursday, while the Celtics were expecting to formally ink Chris Johnson of the D-League to a 10-day contract. ... Friday's game wraps up a three-game homestand for the Celtics, who head out on a three-game road trip after this.

(Read full game preview)