With the Kings having lost 6 of their last 7 games, and the swirling rumors about the departure of coach George Karl having taken over from the narrative of a surging Kings team who had seemingly gotten out of their own way, Sacramento now faces yet another low point in a season with more peaks and valleys than the echocardiogram of anyone who tunes in to watch the Kings play. Sunday morning's game is set to take place in Boston, against a Celtics squad coming off of a buzzer beating victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Currently in the thick of a playoff race, the Celtics are currently at 30-22, are sitting in the fourth seed of the Eastern Conference and have already throttled the Kings once this year (in the thin-air of Mexico City). They hold the momentum in both the season and the matchup against the Kings, who will have to look for their now signature finally-turning-it-around victory to stave off the growing calls for a disbanding of the team in its current form. This game will be featured on CSN-CA, KHTK 1140 and begins at 10am. Let's talk Kings basketball.
Can the Sacramento Kings recover yet again? Coming into Sunday's game versus the Celtics the Sacramento Kings are still only 3.5 games out of the 8th seed for the playoffs, and yet the general feel out of Sacramento is that the any hopes for the playoffs sit precariously and are reliant on a mid-season change of system and heart by a coach notorious for being stubborn. Yet, not all is lost. DeMarcus Cousins, who during the postgame handled himself fairly well for the pressures that come with being this franchise's centerpiece, mentioned that the blame cannot always lie in the effort and energy of the team but that there are problems beyond that of the players on the court. If George Karl and his braintrust can be convinced that their series of switches and collapses into the paint are the reason the Kings are last in the league in opposition three pointers made and attempted, the Kings stand a chance.
Marcoooooo? With Marco Belinelli being inserted into the starting line-up of late, the hope was that Marco could finally shoot himself out of his extended slump to start this season. The results so far have been... middling. While averaging over 16 points a game over the last 3 games, Marco has continued his slump from deep, going 5-20 from deep. Backing out another two games hes played in and it's 7 of 27. These are less than optimal. The Kings need long range shooters to win games, and right now, Marco in any form, just isn't cutting it.
Which random Celtic is going off tomorrow? No real analysis here. Just a constant fear from fans that is slowly growing into actual fact. Somewhere in Boston there is a player preparing for his game against Sacramento, wondering how he's going to get his minutes up and prove that he's worth an extend look in the NBA. Sunday morning he'll wake up, have breakfast, stretch, go through shootaround and then when the ball tips, will come out and absolutely, completely, torch the Sacramento Kings.
Odds and Ends:
This game sees the return of oft talked about, and heavily debated point guard, Isaiah Thomas. The sting from Isaiah Thomas' departure is still felt in Sacramento in many ways. Debate between who ultimately was the decider in Thomas departing from Sacramento is still a sore spot for many Kings fans, and I'm sure that the crafty point guard will play Sunday's game as if he's playing any other team.
The Sacramento Kings coaching staff looks in a mirror, get smart about their defensive rotations and at the end of the game, the future of the franchise looks rosier than what it seemed at the start: Kings 115, Celtics 110.
Bonus Prediction: Panthers win. Peyton Manning retires to whatever farm Papa John built to hide all his secrets.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Everyone!
For the other side of things, please see CelticsBlog.