Tip: 7:30PM Court: TD Garden Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Bennett Salvatore, Violet Palmer and Derek Richardson
Spread: BOS -7.0
I buried the Celtics in a fancy casket following a 118-96 loss last month. It was the first time we hit rock bottom this season. The mediocre Isaish Thomas torched the defenseless Celtics for 27 points and DeMarcus Cousins dropped at triple-double. On the bright side, the Kings have lost 4 straight in Boston.
Get it to: Paul Pierce
I don’t think the Celtics will have much trouble getting the ball to Pierce, because he’s going to have it in his hands a lot. With Rajon Rondo out and no true point guard in the back court, Pierce is going to play point forward. The Kings will counter with John Salmons, a once above-average defender who has lost a few steps in recent years. Pierce generally thrives in this role. Watch out for the triple-double tonight.
Gotta stop: DeMarcus Cousins
Despite averaging 9.7 points, 4.7 boards and 4.0 turnovers in his last three games, Cousins remains the Kings biggest weapon. His length and athleticism pose a major problem for the Celtics front line.
Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee will likely start tonight. Sure, we’ll see a lot of over-dribbling when either one is running sets, but the key to their success will be getting easy baskets as a result of suffocating defense and ball pressure. Another plus – the Kings are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. There’s no better team to start a new offense against than Sacramento.
How we see it goin’ down
Here we go… the Celtics officially begin life w/o Rajon Rondo. I’m expecting maximum effort and razor sharp focus.
There is no way the Celtics lose this game. Slap it up, flip it and rub it down.