Friday, February 7, 2014
W2W4: C's vs. Kings (Game 51 of 82)
By Chris Forsberg
The Boston Celtics (17-33, 10-15 home) host the Sacramento Kings (17-32, 6-16 away) on Friday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
- HEALTH IN FOCUS: Both Avery Bradley (ankle) and Rajon Rondo (general soreness) sat out of practice Friday and were listed as day-to-day. Both were getting up shots before the session, an encouraging sign especially for Bradley after sitting out the end of Wednesday's win in Philadelphia with soreness in an ankle that sidelined him for five games. The Celtics have utilized better health to play better basketball in recent games. As Rondo shakes his rust from a yearlong absence, his impact on this team grows with each game.
- KINGS IN FOCUS: The Kings rank 13th in offensive rating while averaging 101.8 points per game, but sit 28th in defensive rating while giving up 103.8 per contest, which helps explains their lackluster record. Sacramento rebounds the ball well at both ends of the floor. What stands out about the Kings recent success has bee how they've limited opponents beyond the 3-point arc. For the season, the team ranks 25th in opposing 3-point percentage (but first in the league over the past five games).
- EYES ON GREEN: The Celtics have stressed that they don't expect Jeff Green to go for 30+ points on a nightly basis. But coming off an ultra-efficient, 36-point outing in Wednesday's win over the 76ers, Boston would like to see him maintain a sustained impact even if he's not going for big points. Said Brad Stevens: "Nobody averages 36 per game and shoots that way every single night. And so I don’t think it’s fair to ask anybody to do that. I think that’s one of the things where guys can get into that zone, kind of like he has twice in the last couple weeks, and what you want to do is build off of that and to continue to get those looks as consistently as possible. Whether or not they go in or not, you’re going to make five out of seven on a given night and you’re going to make two out of seven on a given night. But are you prepared to get those looks every night? Can you get them on every occasion? That’s kind of the goal."
- LOOSE BALLS: The Kings had lost seven in a row before winning their last two (vs. Chicago and Toronto). ... This is the first of two meetings this season. Boston visits Sacramento on Feb. 22 (and you wonder how the teams will look post-trade deadline). ... The Celtics will see Rudy Gay, who was traded to Sacramento from Toronto earlier this season. ... DeMarcus Cousins is coming off two big efforts after going for 25 points and 16 rebounds against the Bulls, then 25 and 10 against the Raptors.
(Read full game preview)