The playoff-hungry Boston Celtics will kick off a relatively easy four-game road trip tonight against the Atlantic Division- rival Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
The Celtics will also visit the Nets, Bobcats and Knicks on the trek and are 13-15 outside of Beantown this season. They are currently seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference -- even with both Atlanta and Orlando -- and are two games behind No. 3 seed Indiana.
Boston, which leads the Atlantic Division by three games ahead of Philadelphia, has ripped off four straight wins, including Wednesday's 88-86 overtime triumph versus the Hawks. Rajon Rondo recorded his sixth triple- double of the season with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 20 assists.
"We kept fighting regardless of the other stuff out there," said Rondo, who has handed out 10-plus assists in 19 straight games. "We stuck together and we followed through and got the win."
Kevin Garnett finished with a game-high 22 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while Brandon Bass added 21 points and 10 boards for the Celtics, who had a 56-39 advantage on the glass and won for the 11th time in 14 tries.
On the injury front for Boston, sharpshooter Ray Allen is expected to miss Friday's game with a sore right ankle. Allen did not play in the recent win over Atlanta and missed six straight games from March 23-April 1.
Meanwhile, the Raptors will try and stop a four-game slide when they entertain the Celtics this evening.
Toronto recently dropped a 93-75 decision versus Philadelphia the last time on Wednesday, as Alan Anderson and Ed Davis scored 13 points apiece in defeat. The Raptors were again without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani, who is suffering from tightness in his calf, and lost point guard Jose Calderon and forward Linas Kleiza to injury during the game.
"We ran out of guys," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "Jose goes down, Kleiza goes down, Andrea is out...It's the NBA, you have to keep playing even though you're decimated."
Calderon left the game after taking an elbow to the eye. Kleiza left with a sore right knee. Bargnani is doubtful for Friday and both Calderon and Kleiza are listed as probable versus the Celtics.
Toronto is 11-19 up north this season and just 1-2 against Boston during the truncated campaign. The Celtics have won 13 of the past 15 meetings with the Raptors and are 7-2 in the previous nine encounters at Air Canada Centre.