Kyrie is ready for LeBron, upcoming rest management for C’s, and good vibes continue in LA

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES -- Kyrie Irving was back at Celtics practice on Friday and by judging from his lengthy one-on-one battles with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown after the workout, the condition of his bruised thigh is not a concern heading into Saturday’s showdown with the Lakers.

“I got to school these youngins,” Irving said of matching up against the duo. “They are 21- and 22-year-olds. It's always fun just to compete, going against those wings, they are two of the best in our league. It's a luxury to be able to play 1-on-1 after practice.”

Irving confirmed he planned on playing Saturday against the Lakers as well after the one-game absence.

“It’s a lot better,” Irving said. “Just some preventive stuff is why I missed the Sacramento game, so just trying to be as healthy as I can be going into the playoffs.”

Irving’s absence on Wednesday was his seventh missed game since January 23rd as the team has moved towards a more cautious approach with their All-Star guard over the course of an 82-game grind, particularly as his minutes' load has increased in games during which he is active. Remarkably, the Celtics are 7-0 in those contests. Brad Stevens expects the team to hold a similarly cautious approach when it comes to Al Horford and other veterans down the stretch of the regular season while also trying to maximize their spot in the standings.