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Lakers vs. Celtics Game Preview: Beat the green

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Forget everything else about the season. Tonight, all that matters is beating the green.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are back in action Friday night, continuing their trek through the East coast with a back-to-back to open their road trip. Friday night, however, is one of those special nights in Lakerdom. Visiting the Boston Celtics, even with the boiling rivalry becoming more of a sizzle, still holds a special place in the schedule.

The Celtics have been rolling through the Eastern Conference, right on the heels of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston is riding a five-game winning streak, most recently dropping another contender in the Toronto Raptors. A struggling Lakers squad surely looks like an easy target for Brad Stevens.

Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Demetrius Jackson could all miss the game, giving the Lakers a little bit of a helping hand. Julius Randle played sparingly in his return from pneumonia, but it could have merely been a matter of getting him back on the floor and saving him for the "big" game against Boston in the second-half of the back-to-back.

The Marcus Smart vs. D'Angelo Russell matchup is always one to watch between the long-time rival franchises, while Randle is another interesting piece in that conversation coming out of the same draft class as Smart. Isaiah Thomas is the player to watch, though. He's tearing up the league in fourth quarters and leading the way for the C's by averaging an astounding 29.7 points per game.

Good luck, Lakers defense. You'll need every shred of it.

Enjoy the game, which hopefully ends with us enjoying the purple and gold beating the green. Friday night that’s all that matters.

Time: 5 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN