at Boston Celtics (36-11) at Sacramento Kings (12-33)
Tuesday, February 1
10:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #48, Road Game #23
TV: CSNNE, CSNCA, TheScore, NBA-LP 754/755
Radio: WEEI, KHTK
Arco Arena Probable Starters PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo/ Ray Allen/ Paul Pierce/ Kevin Garnett/ Shaquille O'NealBoston Bench Mob
Delonte West (wrist) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out D-League
Avery BradleyProbable Starters PG SG SF PF C
Beno Udrih/ Tyreke Evans /Omri Casspi/Jason Thompson/ DeMarcus Cousins Reserves
Jermaine Taylor Injuries
Francisco Garcia (calf) out
Jason Thompson (ankle) questionable Team Connections
Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal played for the Celtics from 1972-75 and was a member of the 1973-74 Championship team
DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo attended the University of Kentucky
Darnell Jackson and Paul Pierce both attended the University of Kansas
Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal and Delonte West were all teammates in
Cleveland during the 2009-10 season
Jackson and West were also teammates in Cleveland during the 2008-09 season
Von Wafer and Carl Landry were teammates in Houston during the 2008-09 seasonGame Notes
This is the second meeting between these two teams this season. The Celtics won the game in Boston 119-95 but the Kings didn't have their talented second year guard, Tyreke Evans in that one. The Kings have been playing very well in recent games, winning 3 of their last 4 games. All 3 wins were against playoff teams.
They play teams tough. In 28 of their games they have had a lead or were tied in the 4th quarter. It appears that they are learning how to finish in these recent wins. It would be a huge mistake to take this team for granted based on their record. The Lakers, Hornets and Blazers found that out the hard way.
The Celtics are 2-1 right now on this road trip. They are coming off a big win over the Lakers and it would be easy to have a let down against a team with a 12-33 record. But, since a win against the Lakers counts the same in the standings as a win against the Kings, losing this game undoes the good play on Sunday. The Celtics are just 2.5 games ahead of the Heat in the standings after their loss to the Suns. They have to take every game seriously if they want to have HCA throughout the playoffs.
This is a very winnable game if they come out with the focus and intensity that they did against the Lakers. But if they play like they did vs the Suns, they will end the road trip 2-2 instead of 3-1 and that would be a shame after the big win over the Lakers. Great teams bring it every night. This team is great and it's time they prove it! Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Beno Udrih
As we have seen in so many games, as Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. Rondo's play is very important to the Celtics and he will need to be aggressive in this game on both ends of the court. Previous to the Lakers game, Rondo has had sub-par games for him vs the Blazers and the Suns and the Celtics need the Rondo who showed up in the Lakers game. If he plays like he is capable of playing, he should be able to have his way with Udrih.
Ray Allen vs Tyreke Evans
The last time the Celtics met, Evans was out. Ray has been playing very well and is fast closing in on the 3 point record. Evans will want to show that he can make a difference for the team and will be aggressive and Ray must match his energy. Honorable Mention
Shaquille O'Neal vs DeMarcus Cousins
After some off court problems and clashes with the coach, Cousins is finding his spot on the team. He has scored in double figures in 4 of his last 5 games, helping to lead his team to victory in those 4 games. Shaq will need to hold his ground against this young and athletic center without getting into quick foul trouble. Key off the Bench
Kendrick Perkins vs Samuel Dalembert
Perk and Dalembert have had many battles when Sam was Philly's starting center and now they will battle each other off the bench. Dalembert's scoring off the bench helped to lead the Kings over 2 playoff teams: LA (18 points) and New Orleans (16 points) in their last 2 games. Perk's defense on him will be key. Keys to the Game Defense
- Defense is a key to every game and it will be the key to winning the championship. The Celtics beat the Lakers with their defense but lost to the Suns because they failed to play team defense. The Celtics need to continue to make defense a priority. Defense wins game. Play Team Ball
- The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man. When the Celtics concentrate on playing as a team, they are tough to beat. They did a great job of moving the ball against the Lakers and because of that their offense ran like a well oiled machine. Hero ball never wins games (ask Kobe). Crash the boards
- The Celtics showed that they are capable of beating even big teams on the boards when they out-rebounded the Lakers. They had the desire and effort needed in that game and need to bring that same effort and desire to this game and beat the Kings on the boards.
Effort and Focus
- Whatever the reason, the Celtics have shown a lack of focus and effort against teams with losing records. The Celtics beat the Kings once already and they have a dismal record at 12-33 but the Celtics shouldn't take them for granted. They need to be focused on this game and bring the same effort that they did against the Lakers. The Heat already made up one game on them when they lost to the Suns and could make up another one here if they don't come to play in this one. X-Factor
Let Down and Focus
After a big win like the one over the Lakers, it would be easy for the Celtics to let down and come into this game unfocused. Every game counts and in the standings, a win over the Kings counts the same as a win over the Lakers so they have to come into this game focused and not let down their guard. The way the Kings have been playing, taking them for granted would be a big mistake.