Kings vs. Celtics Preview: Payback time

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics beat the Kings shortly before the All-Star break and now the two teams meet for the final time this season in Sacramento.

The Kings might have lost to the Warriors on Wednesday but they were not at full strength. Tonight they play the Celtics (7:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140) and DeMarcus Cousins will be back. Newcomer Reggie Evans may also be available, although it's doubtful he plays even if he is.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

DeMarcus Cousins vs. Jared Sullinger

The last time these two met, Cousins and Sullinger both scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. The problem with that is for DeMarcus Cousins, that's expected, while it's not for Jared Sullinger, whose averaging 13.2 points and 8.2 rebounds. Cousins may be a little bit rusty, as he hasn't played in a game for a week and a half, but he can't let Sullinger equal or surpass his own productions. The Kings will have little chance of winning if that happens. Aside from Sullinger, the Celtics don't have much of an inside presence, so it should (key word there) be a good game for DeMarcus to get going early and often.

3 THINGS

1. Rajon Rondo didn't play in the last Kings-Celtics game but likely will tonight. Rondo still isn't his normal self, but he's still an incredible passer and an underrated scorer. Isaiah Thomas has had some good games against Rondo in the past, and he'll need to take advantage of Rondo's rust tonight.

2. The Kings bench hasn't offered much production lately, and a particular low point was in the last game against the Celtics. In that game, rookie Kelly Olynyk outscored, outrebounded and outassisted the entire Kings bench. That can't happen again.

3. Against the Warriors, the Kings had just 13 assists to 21 turnovers. Reverse those numbers and the Kings probably win that game easily. The Celtics aren't nearly as good as the Warriors but Sacramento will still need to take care of the ball and make the easy pass, not the tough one.

START FOUR

We are starting a new Start Four contest due to the popularity of the last one.  It will encompass the next four games, including this one.  Check out this FanPost for details!

PRE-GAME HAIKU

JET's taking a break
but we don't need him tonight,
or ever really.

PREDICTION

Kings 108, Celtics 95 as Rajon Rondo's presence on the court makes both Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore have career games.

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