After a successful four game west-coast trip, the Celtics are back home taking on the Sacramento Kings. The Celtics went 3-1 in this trip with big (and crucial) wins over the Warriors, Kings, and Lakers. They stumbled in the last game of this trip against the Clippers, but all in all, it was a great trip for the team.
Last Wednesday, the Kings hosted the Celtics, and the Celtics pulled out the win 111-109. Without Kyrie Irving, the Celtics had a full team effort concluding with a Gordon Hayward game winner. Jayson Tatum and Al Horford led the Celtics in scoring with 24 and 21 points respectively. Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 24 of his own.
Tonight, it will be a similar goal as last week. Contain the Kings young guards from taking over the game and stealing a win on the road. The Kings play off the energy from De‘Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. As we have already seen in the fourth quarter of the last game, these two can get hot quick and make a run to get back into games. They only had 39 combined points in that game which was a big victory in its own right for the Celtics. These two are the Kings’ lifeline most games which is a big reason on why this team is so streaky. They are fighting for the playoffs in the Western Conference and will not go down without a fight.
As for the Celtics, the main offensive focus should come from Al Horford. His box scores may never be flashy, but he may have the greatest impact on these games. With the 21 points in the last game, Horford also added 11 rebounds and 7 assists to make for a standout game for the big man. The offense will have to again run through him since the weakness of the Kings is there backcourt. What could be a problem for Horford is the return of Marvin Bagley to the Kings roster. His production before his injury had the team going in the right direction. Horford will have to counter the impact Bagley brings tonight.
The Celtics should have some extra energy tonight after being off since Monday. Although it looks that they may have brought a sickness bug back with them. For tonight’s game, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis are both questionable labeled as an illness. No word on the origin of thier bug, but their status is up in the air for tonight. Also, Jayson Tatum looks to have moved past his shoulder injury as he is listed as probable for tonight. As for the Kings, their injury report is clear with Marvin Bagley coming back to the roster.
The starting lineup will be back to normal with Tatum playing tonight. As Brad Stevens looks to be set in his ways with this starting five, Marcus Morris will continue to start even through his recent shooting slump. But, as we have seen with the team, the real success comes through production from Jaylen Brown and/or Gordon Hawyard. With a full team effort, this team is still one of the best teams in the league. Tonight, they will need it against a pesky Sacramento Kings team.
PG - Kyrie Irving - De’Aaron Fox
SG - Marcus Smart - Buddy Hield
SF - Jayson Tatum - Bogdan Bogdanovich
PF - Marcus Morris - Harrison Barnes
C - Al Horford - Willie Cauley-Stein
Boston - Marcus Smart (Illness); Daniel Theis (Illness); Jayson Tatum (Shoulder)
Sacramento - NONE
How To Watch
Time - 7:30 EST
TV - NBC Sports Boston