Tonight the Kings take on the Boston Celtics (4:30 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140) in the first game of a four game Eastern Conference road trip. The Celtics famously blew up their team this summer when they sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn, and Rajon Rondo has spent most of the season recovering from ACL surgery he had last year, only coming back recently.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Rudy Gay vs. Jeff Green
Normally, the matchup of the game would be Thomas vs. Rondo but with Rondo not fully himself yet, let's take a look at the wings, where Jeff Green leads the Celtics in scoring at 16.3 points a game. Green can be a bit streaky at times, particularly from deep where he's shooting 37.1% for the season. Gay will hopefully be able to wear him out on both ends, as he possesses both the length and athleticism to defend him and score on him.
1. Both teams are a little bit banged up, with Boston definitely having it worse. For Sacramento, Marcus Thornton may be out with a bruised hip and knee that he suffered in Wednesday's game during the Raptors. For Boston, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Vitor Faverani are all listed as day-to-day. If Thornton doesn't play, I expect Ben McLemore will start in his place, with the possibility of Jimmer Fredette since Boston's pretty small. Either way, expect more minutes for both those guys without Thornton.
2. The Celtics, like the Raptors, don't have a ton of big man depth which should be good for DeMarcus Cousins. The guys the Celtics will likely throw at him include Kris Humphries, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, and rookie Kelly Olynyk (also Vitor Faverani if he plays). DeMarcus (and even Jason Thompson) need to take advantage of this.
3. Boston doesn't have a lot of premiere scorers, and are 25th in the league in offense. However they do have a decent defense under rookie coach Brad Stevens, especially in the backcourt where they feature Rondo and Avery Bradley. They're not elite at any one thing on that end, but they're solid in many spots like rebounding (14th), opponent FG% (12th) and opponent 3P% (8th).
Remember that time
Boston thought they could get Cuz?
Kings 173, Celtics 89 as the bruises in Marcus Thornton's hip and knees, along with the minuscule change in weight of the new basketballs that say Adam Silver rather than David Stern, tweak his shooting motion just enough that he never misses.