The Celtics are just one game into their longest homestand of the 2009-10 season, a six-game stretch at the TD Garden in Boston. And already, they're encouraged. Behind another stunning performance from Paul Pierce, the C's kept rolling, handily beating a playoff-hungry Nuggets team on the Garden floor. Next up is a young, athletic Sacramento Kings team that will test the Celtics' injury level all night long. If the C's want to lock up their sixth win in seven games, they'll have to work hard for it.
Friday, March 26, 7:30 p.m. ET (CSNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Celtics (46-25, first place in Atlantic Division, third place in Eastern Conference)
Kings (24-48, fourth place in Pacific Division, 13th place in Western Conference)
This is the Celtics' second meeting with the Kings this season — the C's won the first, a grinding defensive battle on Feb. 16 in which both teams shot 38 percent from the field. Boston held off a fourth-quarter surge from a resilient Sacramento team as Omri Casspi missed two free throws down the stretch, Spencer Hawes missed a buzzer-beater and the C's prevailed by a nose, 95-92.
A stockpile of good pieces are there in Sacramento, it's just a matter of putting them together to build a team. Tyreke Evans, the explosive rookie out of Memphis, is the centerpiece of a Kings team that's rebuilding around energetic, athletic young talent. These Kings shocked the world by putting together a .500 record throughout the first month of the season — it didn't hold up, but it still sent a message to the rest of the league. Sacramento's not a contender yet, but it's getting there. The C's get a reprieve this time out, though, with Evans injured and out of the lineup.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins
Point guard: Beno Udrih
Shooting guard: Francisco Garcia
Small forward: Donte Greene
Power forward: Carl Landry
Center: Spencer Hawes
The Celtics are 22-12 this season at the TD Garden. Of the Eastern Conference's eight playoff contenders, only the Heat (21-16) have fewer home wins.
They have 615 offensive rebounds, dead last in the NBA.
Rajon Rondo had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists in the Celtics' win Wednesday night over the Nuggets, his second triple-double of the season.
Paul Pierce shot 10-for-16 from the field against Denver. He has shot 43-for-77 over his last five games, averaging 24.4 points per game.
Kendrick Perkins has blocked at least one shot in six consecutive games. He's got 12 total blocks over that stretch.
Kevin Garnett has averaged 21.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists against Sacramento in his career.
Ray Allen has 19.6 points per game against the Kings on 41.3 percent shooting.
The Kings are 7-29 on the road.
They are third in the NBA in offensive rebounds with 864.
Jason Thompson has 249 personal fouls, tied with Denver's Nene Hilario for third-most in the NBA.
Spencer Hawes leads the Kings with 82 blocks. Thompson is second with 65.
Carl Landry is averaging 17.3 points and 6.4 rebounds through his first 18 games in a Kings uniform.
Donte Greene had 10 rebounds in the Kings' loss to New Jersey on Wednesday night, a career high.
Omri Casspi had 19 points, six rebounds and three assists the first time he faced the Celtics in his career.
The Celtics have remained healthy throughout their grueling March schedule.
Tyreke Evans is out with a mild concussion.
Jon Brockman is out with a sprained right MCL.
In 1969, Bill Russell suits up to begin the final playoff run of his 14-year career with the Celtics. The C's beat the 76ers, 114-100, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Philadelphia. They go on to beat the Lakers in a seven-game NBA Finals as Russell wins the 11th championship ring of his career.
"It’s just good to get wins. But it's really important for us to get healthy, and stay healthy, and get our timing and rhythm and just keep getting better. That’s the way I look at it. I don’t look at it as the typical homestand as far as anything else other than that. Obviously the wins are great because we can get some momentum at home. But I’m just really focused on getting to the middle of April and being at our best."
–Doc Rivers, after the Celtics' victory over Denver, their fifth win in their last six games
Paul Pierce was
key as the C's beat Denver.
Tony Allen provided a spark.
Is it too
late for the Celtics at home?
The Nets beat
the Kings in an empty house.
Tyreke Evans is
President John Thomas resigns.
Gilbert Arenas will
be sentenced Friday.
A playoff berth was a
slam dunk for Josh Smith and the Hawks.
Where does Kobe Bryant rank?
The Celtics have had their hands full in the past week with explosive scorers — Kevin Martin in Houston, Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, Carmelo Anthony with the Nuggets. Finally, they get a night off. With Tyreke Evans sitting this one out, the Kings don't really have that go-to scorer. As long as the Celtics play smart team defense and avoid careless mistakes, they should be in good shape on Friday night. The C's have won five of their last six, and they can expect to keep the good times rolling if they play well at the Garden.