atSacramento Kings (24-48) at Boston Celtics (46-25)
Friday, March 26
7:30 PM ET
Game #72, Road Game #35
TV: CSN-CA, CSN-NE, NBA LP 756, 757
TD GardenProbable Starters PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo/ Ray Allen/ Paul Pierce/ Kevin Garnett/ Kendrick Perkins Reserves
Michael Finley Injuries
Marcus Landry Probable Starters PG SG SF PF C
Beno Udrih/ Francisco Garcia / Donte Green/Carl Landry/ Spencer HawesReserves
Ime Udoka Injuries
Tyreke Evans (Jaw) out
Jon Brockman (MCL) out Team Connections
Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal played for the Celtics from 1972-75 and was a member of the 1973-74 Championship team
Sean May and Rasheed Wallace both attended the University of North Carolina
Shelden Williams played for the Kings during the 2007-08
and 2008-09 seasons.
Carl Landry of the Kings and Marcus Landry of the Celtics are brothers
Rajon Rondo vs Beno Udrih
Rondo's play is very important to the Celtics and he will need to be aggressive again in this game. If he plays like he is capable of playing, he should be able to have his way with Udrih on both ends of the court.
Paul Pierce vs Donte Greene
In order to go far into the playoffs and have hopes of winning another championship, the Celtics need the Captain to play well. Pierce needs to continue to be aggressive and build on his success in recent games. He gives up 4 inches in height to Greene and so will have to use his strength and veteran wiles in this game to get the best of this matchup.
Kevin Garnett vs Carl Landry
We have been seeing improvements in KG's game as we go down the stretch and the last game was his best since he was injured. He has a height advantage in this game and we should see another big game from KG in this one. Game Notes
The Cís are currently leading the season series 1-0; Celtics swept the season series 2-0 against Sacramento in 2008-09
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 21.0 points per game last season
Kevin Martin led the Kings with an average of 18.0 points per game against the Celtics last season
The Celtics are 6-5 against Sacramento since the start of the 2004-05 season; They have won five straight against Sacramento, the first time the
Cís have done that since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
The Celtics are leading the all-time series 172-111 with the Celtics 92-32 at home
The Celtics beat the Kings 95-92 in Sacramento, but both teams have changed since then. Kevin Martin is gone. Omri Casspi has been moved to the bench in favor of Carl Landry. The Kings' talented rookie is out with an injury. On the Celtics side, Pierce and Garnett are healthier and playing better and Ray Allen is no longer distracted with trade talks. The Celtics' bench has added Nate Robinson and Michael Findley while losing Eddie House.
The Kings have lost their last two games while the Celtics come in hoping to win their second in a row. losing their last game to the Nets 93-79. The Kings are just 3-7 in their last 10 games and only7-29 on the road while the Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 and 22-12 at home.
The Kings are out of the playoffs and right now have nothing to play for other than pride and a better draft pick. The Celtics are battling the Hawks for the 3rd spot in the East. They come into this game tied with the Hawks, who are playing the Sixers on Friday and should easily win so the Celtics need a win to keep pace. Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is a key to every game and it will be the key to winning the championship. The Celtics need to continue to strengthen their defense as they head down the stretch.
Play Team Ball - The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man. When players try to do too much on their own, the Celtics struggle but when they concentrate on playing as a team, they are tough to beat.
Bench Play - The starters have been playing very well in recent games but the bench has been inconsistent. The reserves have to build their own identity and play better.
Crash the boards - The Celtics have been rebounding better recently and they must continue that trend in order to continue to win in both the regular season and especially in the playoffs. Every player must make a concerted effort to aggressively go after rebounds.
Overlooking the Kings
The Kings are one of the few teams that the Celtics will play down the stretch who are not a playoff team and are under .500. It would be easy to overlook them and that would be a mistake.