The Sacramento Kings just won’t away in the Western Conference Playoff race. Despite having an extremely young backcourt in Sacramento, the Kings sit in 9th place in the West. The Boston Celtics are trending in the opposite direction as they begin a difficult road trip this week. This is the first of two critical meetings between the Kings and Celtics this season.
Boston enters the week having lost five of six games, and have a tough test against the Warriors on Tuesday night. The Celtics are still a lock to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference but have fallen into fifth place. Sacramento brings a 31-30 record into this game, and sit just three games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the final playoff spot. The Kings are -1.0 over the Celtics in this game.
Celtics Need More From Irving
If the Celtics are going to get back on track before the end of the season, point guard Kyrie Irving is going to have to play better. Irving is averaging a team-high 23.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, but Boston needs more from their “leader.” The Celtics are in a complete tail-spin it seems, and Irving just continues to stir up more drama in the media.
Forward Jayson Tatum and center Al Horford have also had terrific seasons for the Celtics, but they lack chemistry in a big way. Boston is averaging 112.0 points per game this season but should be scoring a lot better with the roster they have on the floor. Fortunately, the Celtics are still playing great defense, allowing just 106.8 points per game, or this slump could be much worse.
Addition of Barnes Gives Kings Depth
The Sacramento Kings made all the right moves in advance of the trade deadline to give this team a chance to win this season. The addition of forward Harrison Barnes from the Dallas Mavericks has given the Kings another proven winner. Barnes is averaging 12.7 points and 7.2 rebounds in his nine games in Sacramento and will need to have a big game against the Celtics.
Guards Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox are both having monster years for Sacramento, and have the Kings averaging 113.9 points per game. Fox looks like one of the future star point guards of the league and is averaging 17.2 points and 7.2 assists per night. Hield is an elite shooter that leads the Kings with 21.0 points per game and creates space for the rest of his teammates to operate. With all of the talent that the Kings have assembled in recent seasons, don’t expect them to go away anytime soon.
Kings Hold Off Fading Celtics
You would think that a veteran team like the Celtics would be able to beat a young Kings team, but Boston hasn’t been beating anyone of late. The Celtics will still be a tough team to eliminate in the postseason, but they aren’t scaring anyone right now. Sacramento is playing with a ton of confidence, and their young stars will lead them to another win. Bet the Kings -1.0 over the Boston Celtics.