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W2W4: C's vs. Magic (Game 42 of 82)

1/19/2014

The Boston Celtics (14-27, 5-15 away) visit the Orlando Magic (10-30, 7-13 home) on Sunday evening at the Amway Center. Here's what to watch for:

  • HOW DOES RONDO RESPOND?: The Celtics took Saturday off while flying to Orlando for the start of a three-game road trip. Maybe most intriguing on Sunday is how Rajon Rondo responds after making his 2013-14 season debut after a yearlong absence while rehabbing from a torn ACL. The Celtics limited Rondo to 20 total minutes in Friday's loss to the Lakers, and it's unclear how long the team will stick with a minute restriction (or ramp him up over time). Rondo admitted after Friday's game that he's unsure how the team will tackle upcoming back-to-backs (like in Washington on Wednesday after Tuesday's game in Miami). "It's still open," said Rondo. "I think it depends on me and how I’m feeling after the Miami game. It's been almost a year after my surgery, so its not like I’ve been rushed or I’m playing within six months. [On Friday,] I felt fine and obviously it will be a different story [Saturday]. We will see how I feel, not just my knee but my entire body."

  • MAGIC AT A GLANCE: The Magic have lost 10 in a row and rank 26th in defensive rating, 19th in offensive rating, and 27th overall in net efficiency (the only teams worse in net rating: Bucks, 76ers, Jazz). So what does Orlando do well? They do get after defensive rebounds (ninth in league in defensive rebound percentage). And watch Orlando in the mid-range, the Magic lead the league in percentage of total field goals generated from that zone.

  • LOOSE BALLS: This is the third of four meetings this season. Boston won 91-89 in Orlando in early November, then posted a 120-105 triumph over the Magic in Boston three days later. The two teams wrap up the season series on Feb. 2 in Boston. ... Feb. 2 would, of course, be the day of the Super Bowl and the Celtics play what's becoming an annual matinee that day. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos meet this afternoon in the AFC Championship game (and there might be just a few more eyes on that game at tip-off tonight for C's. ... Arron Afflalo is back after missing three games with a strained right foot, but the Magic are expected to be without center Nikola Vucevic due to a concussion.

(Read full game preview)