As the season comes to a close, the Sacramento Kings’ playoff hopes have begun to grow a bit dimmer each night. The San Antonio Spurs currently boast a three game lead for possession of the 8th seed, and with only 18 games remaining, each night is near make or break for Sacramento’s postseason wishes. Unfortunately, Wednesday evening won’t provide much relief, as the Spurs face the 22-43 Atlanta Hawks, while the Kings must take on the much tougher Boston Celtics at home.
Tonight’s match-up does represent a rare scheduling advantage for the Kings. The Celtics are traveling to Sacramento on the second night of a back-to-back, having beaten the Golden State Warriors by a whopping 33 points Tuesday night, while the Kings haven’t played since Monday, also at home. De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and the other speedy members of Dave Joerger’s crew must set the tone early and run past the tired legs of their opponent.
When: Wednesday, March 5th, 7:00 PM PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento CA
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
The Celtics are one of the most inconsistent and confusing teams in the NBA. Prior to the season’s start, many labeled Boston the team to beat coming out of the East, as their roster boasted the talents of Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and the recovering Gordon Hayward, but the early favorites have continuously disappointed. They enjoyed an impressive stretch from January 16th to February 5th, winning 10 of 11 games with their only loss coming to the Golden State Warriors by 4 points, but they then proceeded to drop 7 of 10 games, prior to blowing out the defending champions last night. When the Celtics are on, they’re near-impossible to beat; they just don’t always bother to show up.
Whichever squad can impose their will on the other will likely walk away with the victory tonight. The Boston Celtics rarely allow opponents to hurt them from beyond the arc, holding teams to shoot just 33.9% from three-point range, the third-lowest percentage in the NBA, while the Kings sink the fourth-highest percentage at 37.5%. Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Yogi Ferrell, and Harrison Barnes will have to hit their open shots to take the pressure off of De’Aaron Fox’s drives.
Brad Stevens also deploys a much slower-paced strategy than Dave Joerger, playing at just the 17th fastest pace in the league, while the Sacramento is at the top of the charts. The Kings must play to their strengths in the open court; they cannot afford to get caught up in a half-court battle with the Celtics. If the young superteam can take an early lead and whip the Golden 1 Center into a frenzy with transition buckets, there’s a good chance the Celtics roll over and let the game slip away.
If the Kings truly want to make a run at the playoffs come April, they must capitalize on favorable situations like this evening. The Celtics are tired, inconsistent, and are in the midst of a four game road trip in California. Sacramento must set an early tone, hit their open three-pointers, and control the pace from the start of the game to score a key victory tonight.
The Kings announced that they will be holding in place the same security measures as they had on Monday, so if you go to the game tonight, maybe get there a little early. Be safe everyone.
Kyrie Irving misses the second half because he’s too wrapped up watching conspiracy videos on YouTube, Harry Giles records a career-high in points, rebounds, and minutes, and the Spurs collapse against the incredible play of Trae Young.
Kings 118, Celtics 106