Celtics look to end 2012 with a win over the Kings

Harry How

The Celtics will try to end their 4 game road trip on a high note as they take on the Sacramento Kings.

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Boston Celtics (14-15) at Sacramento Kings (10-19)
Sunday, March 30, 2012
9:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #30, Road Game #16
TV: CSNNE, CSNCA, NBA-LP 755
Radio: WEEI, 1140 AM
Power Balance Pavillion Arena
Referees: David Jones, Olandis Poole, Sean Wright


Game Thread
l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets

The Celtics will try to end their 4 game road trip on a high note as they take on the Sacramento Kings. They started it with a win and then lost 2 and hopefully can end with a win. With all the buzz about the Celtics interest in DeMarcus Cousins, this could get interesting as he possibly auditions for his next team.

The Celtics are playing in back to back games on the road, which will make this game more difficult than it should be. And the final game of a road trip is always a tough one for the team. The Celtics are just 5-10 on the road while the Kings are playing fairly well at home with a 9-7 home record. The Kings are coming off a win over the Knicks on a last second 3 pointer by James Johnson.

The Celtics faced the Kings just once last season and lost 120-95 at Power Balance Arena. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Kings are a slightly worse 3-7 in their last 10. Rondo sat out Saturday night's loss to the Warriors and may or may not play in this one. Also the Kings are reporting that Tyreke Evans, who has been sitting out the past 2 weeks could rejoin the Kings' starting lineup tonight. Both will probably be game time decisions.

Both teams need a win in this game to try to go into 2013 with some sort of positive momentum. The Kings have a 3 game home win streak going and would like to start 2013 with that intact. The Celtics are just 1-7 on the road in December and desperately need to turn that around.

Probable Starters

PG SG SF PF C

Rajon Rondo/ Jason Terry/ Paul Pierce/ Kevin Garnett/ Jason Collins

Boston Reserves

Jared Sullinger

Brandon Bass

Jeff Green

Courtney Lee

Jarvis Varnado

Kris Joseph

Injuries

Avery Bradley (shoulders) out

Chris Wilcox (thumb) out

Leandro Barbosa (personal) hopefully

Rajon Rondo (hip/thigh) game time decision

Red Claws

Fab Melo

Probable Starters

PG SG SF PF C

Isaiah Thomas/ Marcus Thornton /John Salmons /Jason Thompson/ DeMarcus Cousins

Reserves

Aaron Brooks

Jimmer Fredette

Francisco Garcia

Chuck Hayes

Tyler Honeycutt

James Johnson

Travis Outlaw

Thomas Robinson

Injuries

Tyreke Evans (knee) game time decision (probable)

Key Matchups

vs

Rajon Rondo vs Isaiah Thomas

This is one of the few games where Rondo will have a height advantage over his opponent. He also has an experience advantage over the Kings' 2nd year point guard. Rondo needs to be aggressive and take it at Thomas early and often.

vs

Jason Collins vs DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins is a tough and physical player but he's also a young player and a volatile player. Who knows what would happen if KG gets into his head. In spite of 3 suspensions already this season, 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. Collins must keep him out of the paint.

Keys to the Game

Defense - Defense is a key to every game and it will be the key to winning the championship. After playing tough defense against the Nets, their defense was on vacation vs the Clippers and they allowed way too many easy baskets and scores in the paint. The Celtics must defend the perimeter as the Kings can be hot from the outside. They also must defend the paint to keep them away from the basket.

Crash the boards - The Celtics need to rebound the basketball. It takes effort and desire to out rebound the opposing team and when they show the effort and desire on the boards, it usually transfers to the rest of their game as well. The Celtics must rebound to prevent easy fast break points and tip ins.


Start Strong and Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics need to get off to a good start. The Kings are 9-2 when leading at the half and just 1-17 when trailing at the half. The Celtics need to get off to a good start and then not let up. They have to stay focused for 48 minutes.

X-Factors

Back to Back and Rondo

The Celtics may be getting road weary and they are playing in back to back games, but this is a game they can and should win if they give their full effort and focus on playing as a team. If Rondo doesn't play, this game becomes much harder to win.

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