Boston Celtics (27-4) at Sacramento Kings (7-23)
Sunday, December 28
9:00 PM ET
Game #32, Road Game #14
TV: CSN CA, CSN HD, NBA LP 754
Kings Blog: Sactown Royalty
The Celtics have lost the last 2 games after winning 19 in a row and losing only 2 games in their first 29. They come into Sacramento, looking to get back on the winning track. The Kings are only 7 and 23, but the Celtics would do well not to underestimate them as one of the Lakers' 5 losses came at the hands of the Kings.
Last season, the Celtics swept the series and won in Arco Arena for the first time since the 1995-96 season. Perk missed the game in Boston with his sore foot from dropping the bed on it. Big Baby got his first career start and finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds as the Celtics won 90-78. They won the game at Arco 89-69.
Hopefully, the Celtics have gotten their wake up call that they can't just coast through games. They need to find their defense again and maintain it throughout the game and not just the first 3 quarters. The Celtics need to regain their focus and team play in order to salvage what is left of this western road trip.
PG: Rajon Rondo PPG 11.3 RPG 5.00 APG 7.5 EFF + 19.04
SG: Ray Allen PPG 18.8 RPG 3.50 APG 2.6 EFF + 17.14
SF: Paul Pierce PPG 18.5 RPG 5.80 APG 3.8 EFF + 17.79
PF: Kevin Garnett PPG 16.3 RPG 9.10 APG 2.8 EFF + 22.19
C: Kendrick Perkins PPG 9.1 RPG 8.50 APG 1.3 EFF + 14.79
Kendrick Perkins (Shoulder) probable
PG: Beno Udrih PPG 11.9 RPG 3.10 APG 5.0 EFF + 12.82
SG: John Salmons PPG 20.0 RPG 3.50 APG 3.2 EFF + 17.39
SF: Francisco Garcia PPG 12.4 RPG 3.30 APG 1.8 EFF + 11.58
PF: Spencer Hawes PPG 11.4 RPG 7.30 APG 1.6 EFF + 14.45
C: Brad Miller PPG 11.3 RPG 7.50 APG 3.5 EFF + 16.42
Kevin Martin (ankle) out
Kenny Thomas (calf) out
Ray Allen vs John Salmons
Salmons is the Kings' leading scorer and it will be up to Ray to try to stop him along with hitting his own shots. Salmons has scored in double figures in all but 1 game this season and has scored 20+ points in 7 of the last 9 games. He has also been hitting a high percentage from beyond the arc.
The Celtics play best when Rondo is aggressive. He will need to take it to Udrih while also playing tough defense to keep Udrih from getting his shot off. When Rondo runs and gets the ball up for floor quickly, the Celtics offense flows but when he walks the ball up the floor and is tentative, the entire offense seems to be tentative.
Kendrick Perkins vs Brad Miller
Miller is a tough inside player and Perk will need to work on defense to keep him away from dominating in the paint. Perk has said he plans to play in this game and hopefully he will because neither Big Baby or Leon match up well against Miller.
Mikki Moore and Brian Scalabrine were teammates in New Jersey
Eddie House played on the Kings in the '02-03 season
Mikki Moore played for the Celtics in the '02-03 season
Kenny Thomas and J.R. Giddens are former New Mexico Lobos
Keys to the Game
Defense from start to finish- The Celtics have played defense in spurts and have forgotten their defense in the 4th quarter against both the Warriors and the Lakers. They need to remember what got them here and get back to their defensive roots.
Focus - The Celtics seem to lose focus on the road and settle for quick jumpers and get away from the passing game and defense that has made them so successful. They even resorted to bickering among themselves in the Laker game. They need to remember ubuntu and get that team focus back.
Limit turnovers - The Celtics are the worst in the league for turning the ball over. They had to focus on taking better care of the ball and stop all the careless turnovers on bad passes and travels. The Warriors scored 27 points off Celtics turnovers. That should never happen with a veteran team like the Celtics.
Crash the boards - The Celtics have to limit second chance points by crashing the defensive boards. They need to be more aggressive getting to rebounds on both ends of the court as they won't win with one and done possessions while allowing their opponents 2 and 3 tries to score.
Focus - The Celtics have to regain their focus. They have been bickering on the court and in huddles. They have lost their defensive focus and intensity to end the games. They need to get back to what makes them such a good team and that is to value every possession and to put a premium on defense. All that comes down to focus.
Will the Celtics get back on track in this game?
This poll is closed
Yes. The Celtics are going to blow the Kings out and start a new win streak
Kind of. The Celtics are going to squeek past the Kings and at least get the win
No. The Celtics are going to continue to struggle in this game.