For the second time in a little over a week, the Kings will face off with the Boston Celtics. After a two-point loss at Golden 1 Center, Sacramento will attempt to get their revenge at TD Garden Thursday evening.
Looking to shake off a tough loss to the Washington Wizards earlier in the week, the Kings get some much needed help. Marvin Bagley will celebrate his 20th birthday with a return from injury. The rookie has missed the last five games with a left knee sprain, but has been cleared to resume play.
Like Sacramento, Boston hasn't played since Monday when they dropped a game to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Celtics currently trail the Sixers by two games for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. They need a strong finish to the season to secure homecourt advantage during the first round of the playoffs.
Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 4:00 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Following the game the Kings board a flight to Philadelphia where they'll battle the Sixers on the second night of a back-to-back. They'll return home on March 17 to kick off a four-game homestand beginning with the Bulls.
Celtics by 7.5
PG De'Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Bogdan Bogdanovic
PF Harrison Barnes
C Willie Cauley-Stein
PG Kyrie Irving
SG Marcus Smart
SF Jayson Tatum
PF Marcus Morris
C Al Horford
PF Marvin Bagley III (knee) probable.
SF Jayson Tatum (shoulder) probable, SG Marcus Smart (illness) questionable, Daniel Theis (illness) questionable.
Dave Joerger has 14 healthy bodies to work with heading into Thursday evening. His starting unit has struggled since the All-Star break and a change may be in order.
With Bagley on the shelf, Nemanja Bjelica has rejoined the rotation and played extremely well for the Kings. Joerger has some tough decisions to make on minute allocations down the stretch.
Hield is in a mini shooting slump. Over the last two games, the Kings' leading scorer has scored a combined 34 points on 13-of-43 shooting from the floor and 5-of-22 from long range.
The last time these two teams played each other, Irving missed the game due to injury. The Celtics are 10-2 this season without their All-Star point guard, including the narrow win over the Kings.
Tatum sat out against the Clippers with a shoulder issue, but is expected to play. Smart is questionable due to an illness. If he can't suit up, expect Brad Stevens to turn to high-flyer, Jaylen Brown for additional minutes.
Gordon Hayward wasn't the leading scorer in the previous matchup between these two teams, but his nine-foot floater from the baseline with two seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.
Boston is in the middle of the pack as an offensive team, but they allow the sixth-fewest points per game in the league and are fifth in defensive rating. They are a tough, physical team that will make the Kings work.