Celtics vs. Kings: C's look to bolster their fading spirits

Celtics vs. Kings: C's look to bolster their fading spirits
February 22, 2014, 2:45 pm
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SACRAMENTO — There was no individual player whose performance by itself was the reason behind Boston's fourth-quarter collapse to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

But no one seemed to take the loss harder than Jared Sullinger who still managed a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.

"Defensively I played like . . . I played terrible," he said.

As the players tried in vain to explain how they let another winnable game get away from them, the fight this team has shown all season is slowly but surely starting to fade.

How the C's handle this current struggles is challenging on both an individual and team-wide level.

"Every single person has to handle that how they're going to handle it," said coach Brad Stevens. "You can't let your circumstances control your attitude."

The days of viewing this team from a glass-half-full aspect appears to be a thing of the past now.

"It's hard to stay positive in a situation like this," Sullinger said. "We let a lot of games go [this season]."

Fortunately for Sullinger and the rest of the Celtics, there's no time to dwell on the mounting losses.

"You gotta let this one go, let it ride into the sunset and pick up [Saturday night] where you left off," Sullinger said.

Here are some other keys to tonight's Celtics-Kings game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: A fast start by Boston will not only take the crowd out of the game, but also provide a boost for a Celtics team that is determined to end its road losing skid -- at 17 and counting -- to teams in the Western Conference.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:  With Rajon Rondo (rest) expected to not play, Phil Pressey will get the starting nod. In five starts this season, he's averaging a respectable 7.8 points in 25.6 minutes per game. In addition, he's shooting 53.3 percent on 3s as a starter, compared to just 25.8 percent on the season.

STAT TO TRACK:  Ball movement has been among the many challenges for Sacramento all season. The Kings rank next-to-last in the NBA when it comes to assists (19.4) per game. So as much as the Celtics want their team defense to be strong, their best chance at victory lies in how their players hold their own as individual defenders.