Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Sacramento Kings

Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Sacramento Kings

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON The Boston Celtics will look to snap a two-game losing streak tonight against the Sacramento Kings, one of the worst teams in the NBA.

As much as the Celtics talk about the importance of getting off to a good start, finishing teams off has been an even bigger problem lately.

The C's have been outscored in the second half of each of their last three games, the longest such stretch for the Celtics this season.

Sacramento's best shot at knocking off the C's is simply to do what they do best, even better.

We're talking about crashing the offensive boards, one of the few things Sacramento does significantly better than the Celtics.

The Kings average 13.2 offensive rebounds per game, the third-best mark in the league. Sacramento has converted those second-chance opportunities into 16.1 second-chance points per game, the second-highest mark in the NBA this season.

Of course, the big news - aside from the several inches of snow that might deter a few folks from trekking to the TD Garden tonight - is the potential return of Kevin Garnett.

He has missed the C's last seven games, with Boston going a pedestrian 4-3 without him.

Garnett's absence following the right calf strain injury suffered at Detroit on Dec. 29, was expected to be for two weeks which would have meant his return to action would be today.

However, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following Tuesday's practice that Garnett, who did not participate in any of the contact drills, was doubtful for tonight.

"He's just not ready yet," Rivers said. "He's close, very close."

The delayed return of Garnett will surely get the Celtics fanbase reminiscing about how a few games off two years ago, turned into Garnett missing 25 regular season games and the entire playoffs due to a right knee injury.

While Rivers doesn't anticipate Garnett playing tonight, he wouldn't totally rule him out, either.

"He could play tomorrow," Rivers said. "I don't think he will, but there's a chance."

He's not the only superstar that might return to action tonight.

Kings second-year star Tyreke Evans is questionable for tonight's game after missing the previous two with a left ankle sprain.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls


Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls

Tonight’s pregame number is 133. That’s the total number of made 3-point field goals made last season by the players starting for the Bulls tonight. Whatever the Bulls reasons for signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade were this offseason, floor spacing was not one of them.

Wade’s career mark of 28.4 percent from distance is the third-worst percentage among active players with 600+ career attempts, while Rondo’s 28.9 career 3-pt FG% is seventh worst. And, for what it’s worth, the new-look Bulls shot 31.8 percent from beyond the arc (21st in the NBA) this preseason, while hitting 7.7 3-pointers per game. 

Despite allowing 15 3’s last night vs the Nets, perimeter defense should once again be a strength for the Celtics. Last season, the Celtics were fourth in the NBA with an opponent 3-pt FG% of 33.6. They were 38-15 when holding opponents to eight or fewer 3’s. 

With the NBA continuing to trend towards more 3-point shooting, it will be interesting to see how Fred Hoiberg’s offense looks this season, and especially tonight vs the Celtics.