By A.Sherrod Blakely
LOS ANGELES The Boston Celtics have a tough opponent ahead of them when they roll into Sacramento Tuesday night -- themselves.
Yeah, the Sacramento Kings will be there, too.
But when it comes to the Celtics, the team at the other end of the floor on most nights is irrelevant.
And even with the Kings (12-33) playing better -- they've won three of their last four games -- Tuesday night won't be any different.
Opponents with subpar records have been a challenge for Boston all season.
Boston has 11 losses, five of which have come against teams with a losing record.
It isn't so much that those teams play significantly better against the Celtics.
Instead, it has more to do with the C's simply not playing with the same level of commitment and focus at both ends of the floor that they display when playing the top teams in the NBA.
"We don't want to have a letdown," said point guard Rajon Rondo.
But it's difficult to avoid, especially when it comes at the end of a long road trip.
Tuesday's game will be Boston's fourth matchup in seven days.
That, combined with Sunday's 109-96 victory over the two-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, makes the Celtics a ripe candidate for a letdown performance against the Kings.
"We're going to try and go in Sacramento and try to finish off this road trip right," Rondo said.
To do that, the C's need to lock in mentally the way they did in the second half of Sunday's game.
"We had a focus against the Lakers and it's amazing that we played with that intensity," Doc Rivers said after his team's win. "We don't do that every night, unfortunately. As a coach, I would like that."