The Celtics continue their 4 game Western road trip with a stop in Sacramento to take on the Kings. The Celtics beat the Kings 113-86 in Boston on November 1. These two teams for some reason love home court advantage. The Celtics have won their last 10 games vs the Kings in Boston while the Kings have won their last 5 games in Sacramento against the Celtics.
The Celtics have won two straight games, both against playoff contenders. Hopefully they can continue that streak against one of the West’s lottery teams. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Kings are 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 19-8 against Western Conference teams while the Kings are 13-15 against Eastern Conference teams.
The Celtics are 25-10 on the road while the Kings are 13-23 at home. The Celtics remain 4.5 games behind the #1 Raptors and are 6 ahead of the #3 Cavaliers. Toronto hosts the Nets while Cleveland visits the Nets. The Kings are 12th in the West and are 5.5 games ahead of the last place Suns, who the Celtics play on Monday.
The Celtics get Jaylen Brown back for this game after missing 6 games while going through the league’s concussion protocol. I’m guessing that he will go back to his starting spot at the 2 guard. Kyrie Irving (knee), Marcus Smart (thumb), Daniel Theis (knee) and Gordon Hayward (ankle) remain out.
Marcus Morris will also be out with a sprained ankle that happened sometime during the Portland game. For the Kings, Harry Giles is out with a knee injury and Iman Shumpert is out with a knee injury along with plantar fasciitis. Garrett Temple has been ruled out with an ankle injury and Zach Randolph is a game time decision with gastroenteritis.
Probable Celtics Starters
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
Gordon Hayward (ankle) out
Kyrie Irving (knee) out
Marcus Smart (thumb)
Daniel Theis (knee) out
Jaylen Brown (concussion) probable
Marcus Morris (ankle) out
Two Way Players
Probable Kings Starters
PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Bogdan Bogdanovic
SF: Justin Jackson
PF: Skal Labissiere
C : Willie Cauley-Stein
Frank Mason III
Harry Giles (knee) out
Iman Shumpert (knee) out
Garrett Temple (ankle) out
Zach Randolph (illness) game time decision
Two Way Players
Jaylen Brown vs Bogdan Bogdanovic
If Jaylen does return for this game he will be tasked with defending Bogdan Bogdanovic who is averaging 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He is shooting 39.7% from beyond the arc so Jaylen will need to stay with him on the perimeter. Hopefully Jaylen can shake off any rust from the injury and play well in this game.
Aron Baynes vs Willie Cauley-Stein
Cauley-Stein is averaging 12.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals. Cauley-Stein has a slight height advantage but Baynes has an experience and a strength advantage. Cauley-Stein shoots just 18% from beyond the arc, so their battles will mostly be inside.
Celtics Bench vs Kings Bench
The Kings have some players on their bench who could give the Celtics more problems than their starters do. Buddy Hield had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals in the first game between these two teams. Zach Randolph had 16 points in the first game. Hield is averaging 13.1 points per game while Randolph is averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds. The Celtics also need to keep an eye on Vince Carter who is averaging 5.5 points per game but is still capable of putting up a lot of points if not well defended.
Keys to the Game
Rebound - Much of rebounding is effort and desire. The Celtics have to put out extra effort to grab the rebounds on both ends of the court. By doing so, they limit the second chance points and fast breaks for the Kings and also give themselves extra possessions. The Celtics are averaging 44.6 rebounds per game, good for 8th in the league. The Kings are 28th with 40.8 rebounds per game.
Defense - The Celtics are first in the league with a defensive rating of 101.3. The Kings are 29th with a defensive rating of 109.7. Defense wins games. The Celtics must continue to make defense a priority. The Celtics also must particularly guard the perimeter as the Kings shoot the second highest percentage from beyond the arc (38.2%).
Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to go after loose balls, rebounds and also be more aggressive defensively. They have to be aggressive in going to the basket and also in moving the ball. The more aggressive team usually gets the calls and also the win. The Celtics have to play like the team that wants it more.
Move the Ball- The Celtics play best when they keep the ball moving to find the open man. When they tend to dribble too much, the rest of their game seems to become stagnant. The Celtics need to play team ball and keep the ball moving.
On the Road - The Celtics have lost their last 5 games against the Kings in Sacramento. They need to block out the distractions of playing on the road and a hostile crowd and focus on playing Celtics basketball. It would be a good time for the Celtics to break that streak and get a win.
Next Man Up - The Celtics have been doing a good job of stepping up in the absence of key players who have been injured. They may be getting Jaylen Brown back but they are still missing key players. Hopefully everyone will continue to step up and have big games to help the Celtics get a win.
Let Down - The Celtics are coming off two big wins over Western Conference contenders and now they face one of the worst in the West. Will they let down their guard and not play as hard? They have to play like Sacramento is the best in West because the Kings will certainly want to avenge their earlier loss in Boston and they will give their best to beat the Celtics and the Celtics need to play harder than they do.