SACRAMENTO -- If the Kings are going to make a late postseason run, games like Wednesday evening's matchup against the Boston Celtics are extremely important.
Sacramento comes in well rested and prepared after practicing on Tuesday. They'll face a Celtics team playing on the second night of a back-to-back. If Sacramento can control the pace of the game, they have a solid chance against a quality Eastern Conference opponent.
After dropping four of their previous five games, the Celtics shocked the Warriors on Tuesday evening, running over the champs by a final of 128-95. Boston received a boost from their bench, who outscored Golden State's second unit 68-32 on the evening.
Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Following the game against the Celtics, the Kings hit the road for a four-game trip to the east coast, beginning with another matchup against the Knicks on Saturday. They'll make stops in Washington, Boston and Philadelphia before returning home on March 17 to face the Bulls.
Celtics by 2.5
PG De'Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Bogdan Bogdanovic
PF Harrison Barnes
C Willie Cauley-Stein
PG Terry Rozier -- probable
SG Marcus Smart
SF Jayson Tatum
PF Marcus Morris
C Al Horford
PF Marvin Bagley III (knee) is out.
PG Kyrie Irving (left thigh contusion) is out.
Sacramento picked up a much needed win over the Knicks on Monday evening to move back over the .500 mark on the season. Coach Dave Joerger continues to tinker with his rotation. Against New York, he went back to veteran Nemanja Bjelica to space the floor and away from Alec Burks. The move proved successful for Sacramento.
Harry Giles posted his third straight big game for Sacramento, finishing the game with 17 points and seven rebounds before being ejected for a flagrant 2. The 20-year-old rookie has posted a combined 50 points over the last three games, taking on the scoring load left by the injury to fellow rookie, Marvin Bagley.
After some early struggles to fit in, Harrison Barnes scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the team's win over the Clippers.
Before Tuesday evening's drubbing of the Warriors, Brad Stevens' team looked broken. And then they trounced the Dubs by 33 points.
In his first season back from a devastating lower leg injury, Gordon Hayward is still searching for his game. Against the Warriors, he broke out with a huge 30 point performance on 12-of-16 shooting. The former All-Star helps bolster a strong bench that includes Jaylen Brown, Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis.
Boston ranks 19th in pace and 15th in points per game at 112.2. They allow the fourth-fewest points per game at 106.6 and they have the league's fifth-best defensive rating. The Celtics shoot and make a lot 3-pointers, move the ball well and rarely turn it over.
For the second straight game, the Kings have prepared for potential protests in the Downtown Sacramento area. Here is the team's official statement on enhanced security measures:
"Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons safety and security officials continue to work with local law enforcement agencies and city officials to implement enhanced security measures to ensure the safety of guests.
"The plaza will close in the afternoon and will only re-open to ticketed guests to ensure safe entry into the arena. Ticket checks will be conducted on the perimeter of the plaza and an increased security presence will be on-site to assist ticketed guests. To expedite entry, guests are encouraged to arrive early and have their ticket ready to show staff.
"Once the plaza closes, public access to the following Downtown Commons merchants will be restricted to ticketed guests – Urban Outfitters, Andy's Candy, Display, Estelle's Bakery, Fizz, Häagen-Dazs and Pressed Juicery. All other Downtown Commons retailers and restaurants are expected to remain open to the general public.
"We apologize for any inconvenience as we take steps to ensure guests enjoy a safe experience at Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons."