Celtics visit the Kings still seeking their first win on the trip

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics visit the Kings for the 3rd stop on their west coast swing, still looking for their first win on the trip.

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Boston Celtics (19-37) at Sacramento Kings (18-36)
Saturday, February 22, 2014
10:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #57, Road Game #29
TV: NBA-TV CSNNE, CSNCA, NBA-TV Canada
Radio: WBZ, 1140 AM
Sleep Train Arena
Referees: Marc Davis, David Guthrie, Eli Roe

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics visit the Kings for the second and final meeting this season. The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games while the Kings are playing in the first half of a back to back set. The Celtics are 4-10 in the second game of back to backs while the Kings are 2-10 in the first game of a back to back set.

The Celtics beat the Kings 99-89 in Boston earlier this month. Rudy Gay and Marcus Thornton missed that game while Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley missed the game for the Celtics. Rondo will once again sit out this game for rest while Avery didn't make the trip. Gay will play for the Kings but Thornton was traded at the deadline for former Celtic Jason Terry and Reggie Evans. DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 31 points to go with 16 rebounds in the first meeting is questionable for this game with a hip injury.

The Kings are at the bottom of the Western conference while the Celtics remain 12th in the East, 2.5 games up on the Magic, who beat the Knicks last night. The Kings lost their last game and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. They are 11-17 at home. The Celtics lost their last 2 games and are 4-6 in their last 10. They are 8-19 on the road.

The Celtics saw more of former Celtic MarShon Brooks in the last game than they would have liked and may see former Celtic Jason Terry in this game. However, he reportedly wasn't happy about the trade from the Nets so it's possible that he may not play.

This is the 3rd game of the Celtics' 4 game road trip and they are still looking for their first win. They will head to Utah after this game before heading home for a Wednesday game against the Hawks. For a team that looked like it ran out of gas in the 4th quarter of last night's game, hopefully they somehow can find some energy for this one. You know the saying... no rest for the weary.


Probable Starters
PGSGSFPFC
Phil Pressey/ Gerald Wallace/ Jeff Green/ Brandon Bass/ Jared Sullinger

Celtics Reserves
Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Kris Humphries

Injuries
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out
Rajon Rondo (rest) out



Probable Starters
PGSGSFPFC
Isaiah Thomas/ Ben McLemore/ Rudy Gay/Carl Landry/ Jason Thompson

Kings Reserves
Quincy Acy
Reggie Evans
Jimmer Fredette
Aaron Gray
Ray McCallum
Travis Outlaw
Jason Terry
Derrick Williams

Injuries
DeMarcus Cousins (hip) questionable

Key Matchups
vs
Phil Pressey vs Isaiah Thomas
With Rondo still not playing in the second of back to back games, it will fall to Phil Pressey to stop Isaiah Thomas who is averaging 20.3 points and 6.3 assists. He scored 21 points in the Kings loss the last time they met.

vs
Jeff Green vs Rudy Gay
Jeff Green will have his hands full with Rudy Gay, who is averaging 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Gay missed the last meeting between these two teams and will be looking to help his team avenge that loss.

Honorable Mention
Jared Sullinger vs Jason Thompson (or DeMarcus Cousins)
DeMarcus Cousins missed the Kings' last game and is listed as questionable for this one. Sully should have it much easier if Cousins is indeed out as Jason Thompson is averaging just 7.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game as opposed to Cousins' 22.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Sully had a huge game in their last meeting, scoring a career high 31 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.

Keys to the Game
Rebound - The Celtics have to put out the extra effort to grab the rebounds on both ends of the court. By doing so, they limit the second chance points for the Kings and also give themselves extra possessions. The Kings are 4th in the league in offensive rebounds and so the Celtics are going to have to work to win the battle of the boards.

Defense - The Celtics tend to allow way too many open looks and easy points. They have to make playing defense as a team a priority. They have to especially improve on their transition defense if they want to limit the Kings' easy points.

Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics still tend to have periods where they seem to lose their focus and turn the ball over and go through scoring droughts and defensive lapses. It happened again in the 4th quarter of the Lakers game, giving up an 11 point lead. They need to play for all 48 minutes and find a way to eliminate those lapses.

X-Factors
Fatigue and Focus
The Celtics looked like they ran out of gas in the 4th quarter last night. Will fatigue from the 3rd straight road game and playing in back to back games overtake them in this game?
Can they keep their focus and manage to play 48 minutes finally?
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