Sacramento Kings: Game 53 Preview versus Boston Celtics

Dec 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) and Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes (22) and Kings guard Garrett Temple (17) battle for a loose ball during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) and Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes (22) and Kings guard Garrett Temple (17) battle for a loose ball during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings play host to the Boston Celtics on February 8, 2017.  This article provides a preview of that game from a Kings’ perspective.

The Sacramento Kings host the Boston Celtics tonight inside the Golden 1 Center.  This is the second of two meetings against the Celtics this regular season.  The Kings invaded Boston on December 2nd and were defeated 97-92 on that Friday evening.  Below is a highlight video from that game in case you missed the happenings.

It is worth noting that the Kings will be without All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins for tonight’s game.  Cousins received his 16th technical foul of the regular season on Monday and is suspended for tonight’s contest.

Without further ado, let us get to the preview of tonight’s game between the Sacramento Kings and the Boston Celtics.

Dec 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi (18) drives between Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) and forward Jaylen Brown (7) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi (18) drives between Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) and forward Jaylen Brown (7) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries

Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings injury list is beginning to look daunting.  The team will be without three players due to injury tonight.  Rudy Gay, Garrett Temple, and Omri Casspi are all listed as out for tonight’s contest with various ailments.

It was announced on Tuesday that Omri Casspi is targeting a Friday return from his foot injury.  That would be a welcome sign for a Kings’ team that is struggling on wings, so let us hope he is healthy enough to play Friday.

Add in Boogie Cousins’ suspension and the Kings look undermanned tonight against the Celtics.

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are without starting shooting guard Avery Bradley tonight.  The Celtics recently announced he will miss their entire upcoming road trip meaning his earliest possible return date would be February 16th.

MUST READ: Playoffs Still There for the Kings Even With Garrett Temple’s Injury

Jonas Jerebko is listed on the injury report with a broken nose, but all indications point to him playing tonight.

Stay Alert

As always, tune into the pregame show or check twitter a little before tipoff to get any late breaking information you need to know about this contest.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics’ Scouting Report

The Boston Celtics enter tonight’s game with a record of 33 wins and 18 losses.  That currently sits them second in the Eastern Conference and on the fast track for a deep playoff run.

This team is red hot at the moment.  They have won seven straight games and four of those wins came against current playoff teams.  The Kings are hitting the Celtics at a bad time.

Last time out, the Celtics hosted the LA Clippers.  Despite a fourth quarter comeback by the Clippers, the Celtics were victorious 107-102 on Sunday.  Below is a highlight video to give you a glimpse at the Boston Celtics most recent form.

IT MVP?

This will be a sore subject for many Kings fans, but it is worth giving kudos to Isaiah Thomas for his fantastic play this season.  Thomas is averaging 29.9 points, 3.2 three-pointers made, 2.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game while shooting 46.9% from the field and 91.6% from the charity stripe on the season.  Those are fantastic numbers and his breakout season seems to be flying slightly under the radar.

Thomas has dominated the fourth quarter this season as well.  Eric Freeman of Yahoo Sports wrote a great article detailing some of his fourth quarter exploits if you are interested in reading more about that topic.

This guy has just been amazing all season long and the 5’9 Thomas is stuffing it in the Kings’ face for getting rid of him.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics

What to Watch for Tonight

Who Steps Up for Sacramento

The DeMarcus Cousins suspension leaves a giant void for the Kings tonight.  Not only are they missing their leading scorer, rebounder, and playmaker, but they need to fill his massive 35.5% usage rate on offense.

If I am coaching the Kings tonight (and spoiler alert: I am not), I would run a heavy dose of my two point guard lineup with Darren Collison and Ty Lawson.  I would fill Cousins minutes with Kosta Koufos, Willie Cauley-Stein, Matt Barnes, and Anthony Tolliver combinations and ride the hot hand with my big men.

It will be interesting to see how Coach Joerger plays it.  He is often a difficult man to predict, so anything could happen tonight.  Stay tuned.

Defending Horford

The Sacramento defense will also feature a DeMarcus Cousins sized hole tonight.  The Kings will have to choose between going small with Barnes or Tolliver and a big man or playing Koufos and Cauley-Stein together (two players probably best suited as centers in this NBA).

Al Horford torched the Kings in the opening meeting this season.  The freshly minted big man scored 26 points and chipped in 8 rebounds, 4 three-pointers made, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 6 blocks in 36 minutes against Sacramento.  Some King will have to step up and limit Horford’s production tonight if the Kings want to walk away victorious.

Ending the Streaks

I mentioned the Celtics enter tonight’s game on a seven-game winning streak, but that is not the only streak the Kings are hoping to snap tonight.

According to Land of Basketball, the Kings has lost three straight meetings against Boston.

Sacramento is also hoping to get back in the win column after losing their last game.  The Kings have lost four of their last five games and five of their last seven.

Here is to hoping, the Kings can put all those streaks to bed tonight after they defeat the red hot Celtics without Boogie.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics

Summary

There you have it, my preview for the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Boston Celtics on February 8, 2017.

This is yet another game where the Kings look like the deck is stacked against them.  Star player out, missing four players total, the opponent is riding a seven-game winning streak, and defeated Sacramento three straight times.  These always seem to be the games where the Kings come out and surprise me, so let us hope that trend continues tonight.

Be sure to check back to A Royal Pain for postgame content and all the information you desire to know about the Sacramento Kings this season.  Thank you for reading.

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