Jan 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) puts up a layup over New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (2) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics - Orlando Magic Preview

The Boston Celtics look to welcome shooting guard Avery Bradley back into the line-up today when the Cs host the Orlando Magic in

Nov 11, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Avery Bradley (0) drives between Orlando Magic small forward Maurice Harkless (21), center Nikola Vucevic (9) and power forward Jason Maxiell (54) during the first quarter of Boston

a Super Bowl Sunday matinee at the TD Garden.

Bradley, who missed the past five games due to an ankle injury, was contributing 14.5 points and tough-as-nails defense before he went down.  Goodness knows the Celtics could use both of those contributions; Boston went 2-15 in the month of January, including a 1-4 mark without Bradley.  Regaining the service of their second-leading scorer and best on-the-ball defender will help the Celtics on both ends of the court, as the Cs have been struggling to put the ball in the net (their 28.6% shooting from behind the arc was the 2nd-worst in the league last month) and on D, allowing opponents to score 102.6 points per game.

Boston is counting on the return of Bradley, and the slowly-but-surely improving play of point guard Rajon Rondo, to translate into a successful February.   The month’s schedule is light – only 11 games – which means the Celtics will not have to worry quite as much about Rondo’s minutes, since he’ll be enjoying plenty of rest, especially when the All-Star break begins.   As far-fetched as it sounds, Boston is hoping to take advantage of the schedule to get back in the playoff hunt – no, seriously!  A win today won’t be enough, but it would be a damn nice start.

And let’s face it: a team that wants to put together a winning streak could not hand-pick a better opponent.   The Magic were only 3-14 in January, and have lost ten straight games on the road.  As an added bonus, the Magic will be without the services of point guard Jameer Nelson (13.4 pts., 6.6 assists per game), who is nursing a sore knee and did not accompany Orlando on this current road trip.

The game is set to tip-off at 1 p.m., so follow me on Twitter @HoudiniCeltics and @theamazingMrS and come back for my post-game reactions!

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