In the final minutes before the NBA trade deadline, the Boston Celtics acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas from the Suns, along with Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome from the Detroit Pistons. These players will be not be suiting up tonight as the Celtics take on the Sacramento Kings in the second, and final meeting between the Celtics and the Sacramento Kings this season. Boston, sitting in tenth place in the Eastern Conference standings, are looking for a push to help lift them into the playoffs.
New Year’s eve was the date of the first meeting between these two teams. Boston won that game thanks to a great performance from center Jared Sullinger, who scored 20 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Evan Turner also had a great game, handing out a career-high 11 assists. However, Sullinger will not play tonight due to an injury in his left foot.
Tonight it will be up to Tyler Zeller to try and limit DeMarcus Cousins and make up the points that Sullinger, Boston’s leading scorer, would have likely provided. Zeller is perfectly qualified to do just that.
With 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in just an average of 20.1 minutes per game, tonight may be a breakout night for Zeller. He has become a better defender, using his height to fight for rebounds in the paint. Zeller set a new season-high with three blocks against the struggling Philadelphia 76ers on February 6th. Look for Zeller to give DeMarcus Cousins some trouble under the rim tonight.
Sixty-three year old George Karl will be making his debut as coach of the Sacramento Kings. Karl was fired by the Denver Nuggets at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, despite bringing the Nuggets to the playoffs and being awarded Coach of the Year. Karl is looking to lead the Kings to their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade. He is just the man to do it too, reaching the playoffs in 22 of his 25 seasons as an NBA head coach.
“There’s a lot good talent out there.” Karl told the media following his first practice with the team. “Just gotta figure out how to make it fit, fit pieces together better and get more confidence in the game. Get them angry and let them go play.”
Sacramento will be without their assist leader, Darren Collison, who has missed three games due to a hip injury he sustained on February 5th.
If there is anything we can be sure about with this matchup, it is that you will not want to miss it. This should be a close, exciting game that could come down to the wire.
Prediction– Celtics 100 Kings 96
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