SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings aim for fourth-straight win vs. Celtics

Dec 20, 2023, 9:21 AM | Updated: 1:41 pm

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings are playing their best basketball of the young season, but the backend of this six-game homestand will not be a walk in the park–at least not on paper.

Sacramento (16-9) has won three-straight games and five of their past six contests after losing to the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals, including Monday’s 143-131 win over the Washington Wizards.

Golden 1 Center has been a strength for the Kings this season, as Sacramento holds a 10-3 record on their home floor.

After jumping out to a 3-0 start to the six-game homestand, the final three games will provide the Kings with a series of tests that will begin on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics.

Boston (20-6) has looked like a clear NBA Finals contender this season, although they will be playing on tired legs in Sacramento after dropping a hard-fought 132-126 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on Tuesday.

The Celtics could be without star forward Jayson Tatum, who told reporters that he suffered an ankle sprain during the loss to Golden State, but Boston is expected to get recently-acquired big Krstaps Porzingis back to face the Kings.

Sacramento has looked dominant against struggling teams like Utah and Washington. Now it’s time to see how they fare against some of the best teams in the league, starting with the Celtics before playing a weekend back-to-back against Phoenix and Minnesota.

YouTube video

Sacramento Kings vs. Boston Celtics Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -2.5, O/U 234.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Celtics coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Tickets: Click here

The Rise of Keegan

Keegan Murray has been incredible as of late. There isn’t much else that you can say about the second-year forward.

Over the past five games, Murray is averaging 25.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 58 percent and a red-hot 60 percent from three-point range on 6.6 attempts per contest.

More importantly, Sacramento holds a 4-1 record over those five games, with Murray leading the scoring charge. Since he entered the NBA last season, the Kings are 17-1 when Murray scores 20+ points.

Now that Murray has shaken off the offensive struggles that plagued him at the start of the year, Sacramento has shown what its offense can look like with a three-headed monster of De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Murray.

YouTube video

Murray has been the Kings’ best defender this season thus far as well, consistently picking up the best opposing player on a nightly basis. Boston will provide a challenge for Murray, with or without Jayson Tatum (ankle) as Jaylen Brown has averaged 28.0 points per game over his past four appearances against Sacramento.

It’s been encouraging to see Murray flash his potential as a true three-and-D wing, and Wednesday will provide the 23-year-old with another test.

Defend The Three

If there’s one thing that sticks out about the Boston Celtics, it’s that they love to shoot the three-ball.

Entering play on Wednesday, Boston leads the NBA in made three-point field goals and three-point field goal attempts while ranking dead last in two-point field goal attempts.

During Tuesday’s loss against the Warriors, the Celtics hoisted a 58 attempts from beyond the arc–the most of any NBA team this season–while only converting 17 to finish the night 29 percent from deep.

Boston leads all NBA teams this season in games with 45+ attempts from three-point range (11). In those games, they hold a record of 8-3, meaning that they might be quick to let if fly, but good results have normally followed–just not last night.

The bad news is that it doesn’t take much for the Celtics to secure a victory.

Boston is 18-0 when shooting 33 percent or better from three-point range, meaning that Sacramento is going to want to ensure the Celtics finish beneath that mark, especially when you factor in their struggles to score in the paint (26th in the NBA).

The Kings enter play ranked 24th in the league when it comes to three-point defense (37.8%), and while they hold a 3-0 record during this homestand, they have allowed their last three opponents to shoot a combined 37 percent from downtown.

Against a three-point-reliant-offense like Boston, that won’t cut it.

Notes

  • De’Aaron Fox turns 26 years old on Wednesday, and the guard needs just seven assists to tie Mike Bibby for the Sacramento era (1985-present) assists record (2,580).
  • Domantas Sabonis averaged 17.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 9.0 assists on 56 percent shooting against Boston last season.
  • The Kings are seeking its first win over the Celtics since March 19, 2021, and first win over Boston at Golden 1 Center since February 3, 2021.

Kings vs. Celtics Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Malik Monk – QUESTIONABLE – (right foot irritation)
  • Alex Len – OUT (high ankle sprain)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)

Boston

  • Jayson Tatum – OUT (left ankle sprain)
  • Al Horford – OUT (rest)
  • Luke Kornet – OUT (adductor strain)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, December 20th – Sacramento Kings vs. Boston Celtics – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, December 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 23rd – Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 26th – Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers – @ 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, December 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Atlanta Hawks – 4:30 PM PST

Thank you for reading SactownSports.com. Follow us on Twitter and Google News, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Newsletter

Sacramento Kings

Keon Ellis #23 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles during the second half against the New York Knicks ...

Amiliano Fragoso

Ian Eagle says Keon Ellis is an example of being in the right NBA situation

Ian Eagle joined The Drive Guys Friday to preview the Kings-Pelicans matchup and other pressing topics around the game of basketball.

1 hour ago

Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors and assistant coach Mike Brown react after a foul c...

Brenden Nunes

Draymond Green calls Mike Brown ‘defensive genius’ after play-in

Golden State forward Draymond Green complimented Mike Brown and the Sacramento Kings defense in their recent play-in matchup.

2 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 7: Logan Webb (62) of the San Francisco Giants pitches at Oracle ...

Frankie Cartoscelli

SF Giants’ Logan Webb gives his prediction for Kings vs. Pelicans

SF Giants ace and Rocklin native Logan Webb believes the Sacramento Kings will win against the New Orleans Pelicans and claim the 8th seed.

8 hours ago

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 11: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings shoots over Herbert Jone...

Frankie Cartoscelli

Preview: Kings & Pelicans meet with NBA Playoff berth on the line

The Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans will meet on Friday night with a trip to the NBA Playoffs on the line.

21 hours ago

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans goes up for a slam dunk against the Sacramento Kings...

Brenden Nunes

Sacramento are not taking New Orleans matchup lightly despite Zion Williamson injury

Despite the Zion Williamson injury, the Sacramento Kings are clearly not taking Friday's play-in game in New Orleans lightly.

1 day ago

Mason Jones #22 of the Sacramento Kings warms up before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers...

Brenden Nunes

Sacramento’s two-way player Mason Jones named to All-NBA G League second team

Sacramento's two-way player Mason Jones was named to the All-NBA G League second team thanks to his standout season.

1 day ago

Preview: Kings aim for fourth-straight win vs. Celtics