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State of the Celtics: Rondo Returns, Big Trade Opens Up Space on Court

Rajon Rondo has returned to the court for the Celtics. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

After a tough two-week stretch, the Boston Celtics find themselves tied for the fourth worst record in the NBA and have lost 11 of their last 12 contests, including the last three by a combined 12 points to the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat. Rajon Rondo is finally back on the floor, yet this team still looks destined to be one of the top lottery teams after starting the season winning more than they were losing.

Rondo returns

Rajon Rondo may be playing a limited role with about 20 minutes per contest, but he is starting to look like the point guard the Celtics can build a future around. He was named captain prior to Fridays game against the Lakers and put up eight points and four assists in his first game back since his ACL injury last January. He shot 4-of-9 from the field and missed the game-tying triple that rimmed out.

In his second game back, he played 21 minutes with only six points on 3-of-10 shooting. He had a great feed to Jeff Green for an alley-oop dunk against the Magic. Against the Heat, Rondo mustered just one point while missing all eight of his field goal attempts.

If Rondo can regain form and play like an All-Star, then he will be a great asset the Celtics can have going forward.

Two guards traded away

Jordan Crawford and reserve MarShon Brooks were packaged in a three-team deal that sent the two guards to the Golden State Warriors last Wednesday. The Warriors sent Toney Douglas to the Miami Heat and the Heat sent center Joel Anthony, two picks and money considerations to the Celtics in the deal.

The deal frees up spots on the roster and allows for more minutes for Rondo. Crawford would have played less minutes with Rondo coming back and the Warriors needed a backup for Stephen Curry. The deal worked out perfectly for both teams as the Celtics now have more picks to work with when it comes to potential deals to acquire players in the draft in 2014.

The Week Ahead

The Celtics play the Washington Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back on Wednesday. Then they will play at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Brooklyn Nets. It will be another tough week as the Wizards and Nets have been better of late and the Thunder have the scorching Kevin Durant, who has scored over 30 points in his last eight games.

Prediction: 1-3

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