Celtics-Kings Preview

Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics had been playing well even

with the distraction of the trade deadline looming.

Now that it’s come and gone with his team still intact, Garnett

will try to lead the Celtics to another win over the struggling

Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

After scoring 21 points in a victory over the Los Angeles

Clippers on Monday, Garnett had a team-leading 24 in a 105-103 win

over Golden State on Wednesday, including the tiebreaking jumper

with 5.1 seconds left.

Brandon Bass added a season-high 22 points as the Celtics

improved to 2-1 on their eight-game road trip, which ends March 23

in Philadelphia.

Garnett scored 12 in the fourth quarter while finishing one shy

of his season high. He’s averaged 17.6 points and 9.4 rebounds

while shooting 56.4 percent in 11 games since taking over as the

starting center for the injured Jermaine O’Neal.

“He’s been unbelievable this run,” coach Doc Rivers told the

league’s official website. “Since he’s been at the 5, he’s been

absolutely sensational for us.”

Rivers’ team overcame 18 turnovers and a 52.6-percent shooting

performance from the Warriors on Wednesday to win for the eighth

time in 10 games.

“It’s good for the team. It’s good for our confidence,” forward

Paul Pierce said. “It shows we can win when we don’t play well. We

played defense when it mattered. That’s what was most


Boston (23-19) will get to build on that effort with its top

players still on the team after the team stayed quiet at Thursday’s

trade deadline. Point guard Rajon Rondo was one of those who was in

trade rumors, most notably with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rondo has averaged 11.3 assists over his past 10 games and has

totaled 41 in the last three meetings with Sacramento, loser of

three in a row after a 2-0 start to its nine-game homestand.

Boston has prevailed in eight consecutive matchups with the

Kings, winning by an average of 17.0 points, but the past two in

Sacramento were decided by a combined eight.

The Kings (14-29), though, were beaten by a combined 38 points

in their last two games. They gave up 40 in the third quarter

during a 124-112 loss to Detroit on Wednesday, the most in any

period this season.

“You’re not going to win a game if you give up 40 points,”

rookie guard Isaiah Thomas said.

Three Sacramento players topped 20 points in that defeat,

including Jason Thompson with a season-best 21 and 15 rebounds.

Thomas also scored 21, three shy of his career high.

Tyreke Evans had a team-best 23 points but left in the fourth

quarter after injuring his ankle on a hard fall. He’s listed as


His potential absence could be a big problem for a Sacramento

team which has averaged just 84.1 points in the last eight meetings

with Boston.

The Kings have allowed an average of 115.0 points during their

three-game skid after giving up 98 or fewer during wins over New

Orleans and Dallas to start their homestand.