Celtics Begin West-Coast Swing With Visit to Sacramento

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Celtics Begin West-Coast Swing With Visit to Sacramento After a weekend in Dallas to relax and celebrate the game, it's time for a trip West. With the All-Star break in their rearview mirrors, the Celtics embark on a West Coast road trip to open the second half of the regular season.

Boston's roster is healthy and ready to go, but it may still be suffering from the painful memory of its last trip out West. These C's will need to prove they can win on the road, and now would be a fine time to do it. They'll get their first shot versus the Sacramento Kings, a bottom-feeder in the Western Conference.

When and Where

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 10 p.m. ET (CSNE)
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, Calif.

Records

Celtics (32-18, first place in Atlantic Division)
Kings (18-34, fourth place in Pacific Division)

Head to Head

This is the first of the Celtics' two meetings with Sacramento this season; the C's are also slated to host the Kings at the TD Garden on March 26. The Celtics are 4-0 against the Kings in the last two years, but here's a creepy little factoid: After the All-Star break in 2007, the Celtics opened with a West Coast road trip beginning on a Tuesday night in Sacramento, and a 104-101 loss to the Kings touched off a four-game Boston losing streak.

Scary omen for what's to come. The Celtics had better start this trip off on the right foot.

Skinny

Remember Tyreke Evans? He was the apple of Danny Ainge's eye eight months ago, with the Celtics eying the upcoming draft; the C's even considered making a bold move by trading Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen to move up in the draft and snag him. Ainge looks like a genius now — Evans has become an explosive scorer for the Kings, averaging 20.3 points per game in his rookie season. The Kings are overloaded with flashy guards Evans, Kevin Martin, Beno Udrih and Sergio Rodriguez. They're not going anywhere in the West right now, but this is a roster loaded with talent. There's hope for the Kings down the road.

Starting Lineups

Celtics
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting Guard: Ray Allen
Small Forward: Paul Pierce
Power Forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Kings
Point Guard: Tyreke Evans
Shooting Guard: Kevin Martin
Small Forward: Omri Casspi
Power Forward: Donte Greene
Center: Spencer Hawes

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics are 2-5 this season against Pacific Division teams.

The Celtics finished the first half of the season dead last in the NBA in total rebounds with 1,940.

Kendrick Perkins is shooting 61.4 percent, best in the NBA.

Paul Pierce is now fourth in the NBA with a three-point shooting percentage of 44.8. He now trails Daniel Gibson, Jared Dudley and Anthony Morrow.

Rajon Rondo has 121 steals, an NBA best and 28 away from the career high he set last season.

Kevin Garnett is averaging 7.0 rebounds per game in February, up from his January average of 5.8.

Ray Allen is 21-for-23 from the free-throw line this month.

Kings
The Kings have played five overtime games this season, winning two of the five. Only the Mavericks and Hornets have played more (six each).

They have allowed 105.8 points per game this season. Only the Warriors, Suns and Timberwolves have let up more.

Tyreke Evans' 20.3 points per game are best in the NBA among rookies.

Kevin Martin is averaging 20.7 points in his 20 games since returning from injury; he has averaged 20-plus in each of his last four seasons.

Jason Thompson
has been whistled for 199 fouls. Only Dwight Howard (201) has more.

Spencer Hawes leads the Kings with 50 blocks this season; Thompson has 49.

Omri Casspi is shooting 45.2 percent from three-point range at home and 28.6 percent on the road.

Black and Blue

Celtics
Ray Allen has been experiencing back spasms recently. He is probable for Tuesday night.

Kings
Francisco Garcia underwent surgery on his right forearm in October and is out indefinitely.

This Date in Celtics History

In 1992, the Celtics get a front-row seat for the Los Angeles Lakers' ceremony to retire Magic Johnson's No. 32 jersey. The Lakers retire Magic's number at halftime of a Boston-L.A. game at the Great Western Forum; after the break, the Celtics get the last laugh, winning 114-107 behind 21 points from Robert Parish.

Overheard

"I’m great, man. I told Stan [Van Gundy], you know, because it’s Chris Bosh and he’s from Dallas, let him play the bulk of the minutes. I know we had to split the time between David Lee and some of the other bigs. I had no problem. It was all good."
Kevin Garnett, in Monday's Boston Herald, on sitting out most of the East's All-Star Game victory on Sunday night

Press Box

Celtics
Kevin Garnett gets some rest.

Rajon Rondo has goals in mind.

Time for Ray Allen to go?

Kings
Tyreke Evans is a Rookie of the Year frontrunner, but can he beat out Brandon Jennings?

Evans and Casspi enjoyed All-Star weekend.

Will the Kings make a blockbuster deal?

NBA
A record crowd took in Sunday's All-Star Game.

The Blazers might want Marcus Camby.

Allen Iverson is back in Philadelphia.

Outlook

The Celtics have shown an inability to win games on the road this season, especially on the West Coast. As they look to break that trend this week, they've got a few things going for them. First, they're healthy for the first time in a long time. Second, they're well rested after the All-Star break. Finally, they'll get to start things off against a Kings team that's near the bottom of the Western Conference. If Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen can play lock-down defense against the Kings' high-scoring guards, the Celtics should have a cakewalk of a first win in the second half.

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