LOS ANGELES — The Celtics have 25 games left in their season and their roster should remain mostly intact after making no moves before the Thursday NBA trade deadline. With that difficult period over, the club can now concentrate on improving and progessing for the remainder of the season.
The final three games of this west coast road trip are winnable. The Lakers (18-36), Kings (18-36) and Jazz (19-34) are the remaining opponents. Rajon Rondo will play tonight against the Lakers but won’t Saturday against the Kings because he said his knee is not ready to withstand back-to-back games. The Lakers will get Pau Gasol back from a strained right groin injury and have dropped a club-record eight consecutive games at Staples Center.
BOSTON CELTICS (19-36)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jeff Green
SF Gerald Wallace
PF Brandon Bass
C Jared Sullinger
Inactives: Keith Bogans, Vitor Faverani, Avery Bradley
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (18-36)
PG Kendall Marshall
SG Jodie Meeks
SF Wesley Johnson
PF Ryan Kelly
C Pau Gasol
Inactives: Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry
Officials: Ken Mauer, Curtis Blair, Courtney Kirkland
TV, radio: 10:30 p.m., CSNNE, WBZ-FM (98.5)
• When asked about the trade deadline, Rondo said: “I’m under contract with the Celtics and that’s who I play for. (The rumors) get annoying at times but it’s been like that the last eight years. This is what I do for a living. It’s not who I am. I’ll be 28 tomorrow and I have a long life to live. This is part of what happens when you’re an NBA player.
• Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he is not going to suddenly increase playing time to younger players for the express purpose of getting experience. He said he will give playing time to those players who deserve it. Kelly Olynyk has played well of late, Stevens said, and has earned increased minutes.
• The Celtics will be facing a familiar face in MarShon Brooks, who was acquired this week in the Steve Blake trade. Brooks will wear No. 2 for the Lakers. He was traded along with Jordan Crawford to the Warriors in the three-team deal that netted Joel Anthony and two draft picks.
• The Celtics will travel late Friday night to Sacramento and face the Kings on Saturday. Their last west coast trip of the season concludes Monday against the Utah Jazz.