The Celtics continue their 5 game road trip as they take on the Sacramento Kings. The Kings will play the Celtics again in Boston on November 25. The Celtics are 3-0 vs the west and 5-1 on the road. The Kings are 2-2 vs Eastern teams and 2-3 at home. The Celtics are looking for their 11th straight win while the Kings are looking to get back on track after losing their last game.
The Celtics have won 7 of the last 8 games against the Kings and have won their last 4 in Sacramento. The Kings aren’t quite as bad as their record might indicate. They have won 4 and lost 2 of their last 6 games after an 0-5 start. On Friday, when the Celtics were beating the Warriors by 5, the Kings barely lost to the LA Lakers by just 2 points.
The Celtics will be without Gordon Hayward, who will be out approximately 6 weeks after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand. Robert Williams returned to play on Friday night after sitting out a game with a sprained ankle. His minutes were limited, though. He should be available for this game, but may once again be limited. Romeo Langford, who is with the Red Claws left their first home game on Friday with a sprained ankle and didn’t return.
For the Kings, DeAaron Fox suffered a severe ankle sprain in practice and will be out for this game. Marvin Bagley III fractured his thumb in the season opener and is also out for this game. Trevor Ariza was injured on Tuesday in a win over the Blazers and missed Friday’s game. He is a game time decision for this game. Caleb Swanigan has missed the last 4 games with a sprained ankle and is also a game time decision.
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
Robert Williams III
Romeo Langford (G League/ankle) out
Gordon Hayward (hand) out
Robert Williams III (probable)
Two Way Players
Probable Kings Starters
PG: Cory Joseph
SG: Buddy Hield
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Nemanja Bjelica
C : Richaun Holmes
Harry Giles III
Trevor Ariza (groin) game time decision
Marvin Bagley III (finger) out
DeAaron Fox (ankle) out
Caleb Swanigan (ankle) game time decision
Two Way players
Marcus Smart vs Buddy Hield
Hield is averaging 18.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He is shooting 41% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc. He is capable of putting up points in bunches if not defended well. If anyone can slow him down, it would be Marcus Smart.
Jaylen Brown vs Harrison Barnes
Barnes is averaging 15 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 48% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. Jaylen will need to play tough defense on him along with continuing to contribute the Celtics’ offense.
Jayson Tatum vs Nemanja Bjelica
Bjelica has had big games against the Celtics in the past and is averaging 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He is very efficient in his scoring, especially on 3 pointers. He is shooting 45% from the field and 53% on threes.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is always the key to every game. The Celtics have let up a bit on defense over the past 2 games, allowing the Wizards to score 133 and the Warriors to score 100. The Celtics have a defensive rating of 103.9. The Kings have a defensive rating of 110.5. The Celtics must make defense a priority, especially playing on the road. The Celtics also must particularly guard the perimeter as the Kings shoot 38% from beyond the arc as a team.
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 46.3 rebounds per game to 42.2 rebounds per game for the Kings. The Celtics have to put out extra effort to beat the Kings to the boards.
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.
Don’t Underestimate - The Warriors are the worst team in the league and yet the took the Celtics down to the wire and almost beat them. The Kings are better than the Warriors and so the Celtics need to take them very seriously and come out strong and play hard for the entire 48 minutes. The Celtics are #1 in the league and every team will play their hardest against them. The Celtics must match their intensity and play harder.
On the Road - The Celtics need to block out the distractions of playing on the road and a hostile crowd and focus on playing Celtics basketball. They need to come out strong to keep the crowd out of the game. They have to stay focused and not let anything distract them.
Officiating - Officiating is always an x-factor. Every crew will call the game differently. Some will call every little thing and the game will have no flow. Others will let a lot go and let them play. Some crews favor the home team while others call it evenly. The Celtics need to adjust to how the game is called.