Celtics host Kings with both teams looking for 3rd straight win

USA TODAY Sports

In another bottom of the standings battle, the Celtics host the Sacramento Kings.

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Sacramento Kings (17-32) at Boston Celtics (17-33)
Wednesday, February 7, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #51, Home Game #26
TV: CSNNE, CSNCA, NBA-LP 758(DTV)/757,758(xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, KHTK
TD Garden
Referees: Danny Crawford, Tony Brown, Haywoode Workman


Game Thread l Chat


The Celtics host the Sacramento Kings for the first of 2 meetings this season. They will meet again later this month when the Celtics go on a west coast trip. The Kings are starting a 4 game road trip with this game.

Both teams come into this game looking for their third straight win. Both teams are also 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 10-15 at home while the Kings are 6-16 on the road.

With their 2 consecutive wins, the Celtics have climbed to the 5th worst record, passing both Philly and Cleveland. They are now closer to the playoffs than they are to the worst record in the East. They just 5 games out of the playoffs and 7.5 games in front of Milwaukee, who are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Out West, with almost the same record as the Celtics, the Kings are just half a game ahead of Utah for the last place in the conference. The Kings are 11.5 games out of the playoffs.

The shooting guard matchup is in question in this game. Both Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton are listed as questionable for this game. Avery sat out the second half of Wednesday's game with a sore ankle. If he can't play in this game, expect Gerald Wallace to get the call again. This morning Brad Stevens said that Rondo is also likely to be out due to general soreness.




PGSGSFPFC
Rajon Rondo/ Avery Bradley/ Jeff Green/ Brandon Bass/ Jared Sullinger

Celtics Reserves

Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless
Phil Pressey
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Kris Humphries

Injuries

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) questionable
Avery Bradley (ankle) questionable
Rajon Rondo (general soreness) questionable




PGSGSFPFC
Isaiah Thomas/ Marcus Thornton/ Rudy Gay/ Jason Thompson/ DeMarcus Cousins

Kings Reserves
Quincy Acy
Jimmer Fredette
Aaron Gray
Carl Landry
Ray McCallum
Ben McLemore
Travis Outlaw

Injuries
Derrick Williams (foot) questionable
Marcus Thornton (knee) questionable

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Isaiah Thomas
Rajon Rondo has been getting better and better with each game in his return and hopefully that will continue in this one. He will have a rare height advantage in this matchup. Thomas is averaging 21.3 points and 6.9 assists.

vs
Jared Sullinger vs DeMarcus Cousins
This will be a tough matchup for Sully. Cousins has a height advantage and has been playing very well, averaging 22.7 points and 11.6 rebounds.

Honorable Mention

Jeff Green vs Rudy Gay
Gay has been playing very well since his return from an ankle injury. He is averaging 23.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.6 steals in his last 5 games. Green is coming off a big game against the Sixers and it's hard to tell if he will show up for this game or not.

Keys to the Game

Limit Turnovers - The Celtics are 5th in the league in turnovers with 15.7 and they have to take better care of the ball. Turnovers usually lead to an easy score at the other end for their opponents and so it's important to focus on their ball handling and passes so as not to give their opponents that advantage.

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.

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. Defense not only wins championship, it wins games as well.

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. They need to play for all 48 minutes and find a way to eliminate those lapses.

X-Factors
Who's Playing? If Rondo and Bradley sit out, it becomes very difficult for the shorthanded Celtics to win.

X
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