Rondo-less Celtics play host to Trail Blazers

The Boston Celtics will be without the services of All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo on Friday night when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.

Rondo was suspended two games by the NBA for his role in the altercation Wednesday night with the Brooklyn Nets.

After Kris Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett hard, Rondo came over and started a fight that poured into the stands. Rondo was ejected, the Celtics lost and the NBA pronounced judgement on Thursday.

"Whatever the consequences are, that's what they are," Rondo told reporters after practice on Wednesday. "I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it was more than a pushing war. That's about it."

The NBA disagreed, so now the Celtics will be without the services of their best player. Expect Leandro Barbosa to start at the point guard in Rondo's absence.

Rondo, whose streak of 37 straight games with 10 assists or more was snapped following the ejection Wednesday, missed the earlier meeting with the Nets on Nov. 15 due to a sprained ankle. Barbosa started for Rondo that night and had 17 points and two assists in a 102-97 loss.

The Celtics have lost three of their last five, including home losses to the Nets and San Antonio Spurs.

The Trail Blazers became a footnote after their last performance. They became the first losers to the Washington Wizards this season when Portland fell 84-82 in the nation's capital.

It was the first win for the Wizards and a disappointing loss, a third in a row for the Blazers.

"I got after them a little bit in the locker room after the game," said Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. "We need to win. We need to believe we are winners, and we need to take the approach every day in everything that we do."

They haven't been winners since they embarked on a seven-game road trip on Sunday. Portland fell to the Nets and Detroit Pistons before the somewhat humiliating loss to Washington on Wednesday.

Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum led the way for the Blazers with 20 points a piece. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 and J.J. Hickson posted an impressive double- double with 15 points and 19 rebounds.

The bench continues to be a sore spot for the Blazers. The reserves combined for four points in Washington on Wednesday and only twice has Portland had a bench player score in double-figures this season.

The Celtics are 13-2 in their last 15 against Portland and the Blazers haven't won in Boston since Mar. 31, 2004, losing eight in a row.