The Boston Celtics (15-29, 9-12 home) host the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-10, 14-7 away) on Friday night at TD Garden. Here's what to watch for:
BEWARE THE SLIM REAPER: The last team to hold Kevin Durant under 30 points? The Celtics during their visit to Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this month. That was nine games ago for Durant, the three-time league scoring champ who has averaged a staggering 38.9 points per game during this 30+ streak. Durant is a game-time decision with a sore shoulder (probably from scoring too much) finished with 21 points against Boston (though he sat out the fourth quarter of a lopsided game).
RONDO'S BACK IN ACTION: The Celtics held Rajon Rondo out of Wednesday's overtime win over the Washington Wizards as a precaution on the second night of a back-to-back. Rondo will play his fourth game since returning last Friday against Oklahoma City Thunder and is expected to be on the same 20-25 minute restriction. Rondo's still shaking rust and the Celtics have maintained that this is merely training camp for him after sitting out nearly a year while rehabbing from an ACL tear. Rondo will be tasked with helping to slow down Reggie Jackson, the Thunder point guard who has excelled in place of injured Russell Westbrook, putting up a team-high 27 points during Oklahoma City's win over Boston earlier this month.
THUNDER AT A GLANCE: The Thunder rank fifth in the league in offensive rating and third in defensive rating. They are the top rebounding team overall (eighth on the defensive glass; ninth on the offensive boards). A weakness? Good luck finding one. Without Westbrook, they have been sloppy with the ball, ranking 21st in the league in turnover percentage.
LOOSE BALLS: SHORTHANDED C'S: Boston will still be thin at the guard spot with Avery Bradley sidelined for a couple weeks with an ankle sprain. Jerryd Bayless is nursing a sprained toe on his left foot, but coach Brad Stevens suggested he'd be game-to-game starting Friday. ... Rookie point guard Phil Pressey, coming off a night in which he scored a career-high 20 points, including five 3-pointers, should continue to see extended time. ... Gerald Wallace shuffled into the starting lineup for Bradley on Wednesday and put up nine points and nine assists while scoring the winning basket. ... Boston has won only two games in January.