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The Boston Celtics take on what most experts would call the NBA's biggest surprise this season, the Phoenix Suns, tonight at US Airways Center.

The Suns enter the game currently occupying the sixth playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

They are half a game ahead of media darlings the Golden State Warriors and Dirk's Mavericks and a game and a half up on the Memphis Grizzlies.

Whether or not the Suns can keep in the playoff mix will be an interesting sub-plot the final third of the season considering the Grizzlies have played horribly at home this year (15-14) and writers such as Grantland's Zach Lowe have opined that the Warriors are serious championship contenders.

The most reassuring news for Suns fans is dynamic guard Eric Bledsoe should be returning to the lineup very soon after so far being out just over five weeks since his right knee surgery.

As Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic and USA Today recently reported:
The Suns players and staff get a pick-me-up at every practice and when they walk through the training room.

They have been seeing rehabilitating point guard Eric Bledsoe taking shots on the court and running on a treadmill.

Friday will mark five weeks since Bledsoe's right-knee surgery. No timetable for a recovery or return was shared, but many believe he could return not long after the All-Star break.

"He's making good progress on his rehab," Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. "He's progressing as expected. We're still optimistic that he'll return some time after the All-Star break.

Bledsoe was averaging 18 and just under six assists before he went down and is dynamic enough of a player that he earned the nickname "Mini Lebron" from former Clipper teammate Jamal Crawford.

Even though Bledsoe won't be back against Boston one exciting player who will be on the floor for the Phoenix Suns is Gerald Green.

Green is one of the most exciting dunkers in the league and is having the breakout season I expected when he was drafted by Boston with the 18th pick in the 2005 drart.

Unfortunately, the breakout year comes nine years later than I expected and with a team other than the Celtics, but it's good to see him finding some success in the league nonetheless.

Phoenix is led offensively by Goran Dragic who is averaging over twenty points and six assists while shooting over 50% from the floor as well as 40% from three.

If these numbers pop out at you they also did to many others including myself who felt Dragic was one of the biggest snubs to this year's Western Conference All-Star team.

The Celtics come in having won three of five prior to the All-Star break ballyhooed by the return of the league's best facilitator: Rajon Rondo.

The team captain is also proving that the continual offensive improvement he's demonstrated throughout his career is far from complete.

In his last two outings Rondo has shot 7-11 from three
(he didn't play against Milwaukee).

Although both losses to San Antonio and Dallas still a very impressive number and another reason I think the Boston front office would be crazy to trade him.

My prediction:

Rondo is a big game player and rises to the occasion so will have another great game in his point guard dual with Dragic.

Boston 101 Suns 94

Leave your own predictions on tonight's game in the comments below.

Follow Clint on Twitter @ClintCorey



Clint Corey 2/19/2014 07:15:00 AM Edit
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