The Boston Celtics (22-43, 14-20 home) host the Phoenix Suns (36-28, 14-15 away) on Friday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
RONDO, BLEDSOE BACK: Rajon Rondo is expected back in the starting lineup for Boston after sitting out the second night of a back-to-back on Wednesday, but the Suns recently got their own reinforcement at the point guard position with the return of Eric Bledsoe. The 24-year-old guard, acquired from the Clippers over the summer, played 32 minutes in a reserve role during Wednesday's visit from Cleveland and put up 15 points, nine assists, and three rebounds as stumbling Phoenix lost its third straight. The Suns are 16-9 when Bledsoe plays this season.
SPOILER TO THE SUNS?: The Suns have lost seven of their last 10 while slipping to ninth place in the Western Conference (and a couple games back of the final playoff spot). They've got 18 games to catch Memphis or Dallas. Asked after Wednesday's loss if the Celtics envied the chance to play spoiler versus the Suns, Jeff Green offered, "We look at it as a chance for us to win. We’re not concerned with what they are trying to do, we’re concerned with what we’re trying to do and that’s get better from game to game."
LOOSE BALLS: This is the second and final meeting of the season for these two teams. The Suns posted a 100-94 triumph in Phoenix last month. ... Call them Celtics West: The Suns have a handful of familiar faces including Gerald Green, Shavlik Randolph, and Dionte Christmas (as well as general manager Ryan McDonough). ... The Celtics are hoping to have Avery Bradley back for Friday's game. ... The Celtics will wear new sleeved alternate uniforms in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. The team will also wear those same jerseys its next two games on the road.