BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics are out West for the first time this season.

With four games in six nights, the trip will be anything but leisurely.

It all starts with a back-to-back that spans across two time zones. After taking on the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night, the Celtics will hop on a plane and change time zones for a Friday night game against the Phoenix Suns. Although both teams are struggling this season, neither matchup is a walk in the park.

After the Suns, the Celtics go back to the Pacific time zone for a Sunday afternoon matchup with their biggest rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. Luckily, they close out the trip with a meeting with the 10-33 Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

This is a trip the Celtics have had circled since the beginning of the season, and not just because of the NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers.

Upon seeing the schedule for the first time, the team asked the NBA to change the trip and give the Celtics another day for travel. An extra day would allow the team more time to adjust to the time changes and a more relaxing travel schedule. The league said no.

There should be some good news on the trip. After getting Kendrick Perkins back Tuesday night, the team also hopes to have another injured center return in Shaquille O’Neal. Sidelined with a sore hip, Shaq made the trip with the team Wednesday but is not expected to suit up against the Blazers. He is should return to action against the Suns.

Marquis Daniels will be available Thursday night after missing a game due to a family matter.


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