Celtics face their first post trade deadline foe in Sacramento

Boston Celtics (23-19) at Sacramento Kings (14-29)
Friday, March 16
10:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #43, Road Game #19
Radio:  WEEI, KHTK
Power Balance Pavillion Arena 
Referees:  Tony Brothers, Matt Boland,  Scott Twardoski
This is the first and only meeting between these two teams this season.  This is the 6th game of a 9 game home stand for the Kings.  They won the first two games but have dropped their last 3, allowing an average of 115 points per game in the losses.

Neither team was active at the trade deadline but the Celtics still are thin up front and for the Kings, Evans turned his ankle in their last game and is listed as day to day.  The Celtics can finally relax and just play basketball with the trade deadline behind them.  They have gone 2-1 on their 8 game road trip so far. 

Both teams were off on Thursday.  The Celtics are playing in the first of back to back games and will play in Denver on Saturday.   The Celtics are in the 7th spot in the East, but are just 1/2 game behind Atlanta for the 6th spot and are 1 1/2 games back of Philly for the 4th spot.  They need to concentrate on getting every win to move up in the standings and avoid the Bulls and Heat in the first round.  The Kings are in the next to last spot in the West and are playing for ping pong balls at this point.

If the Celtics come out focused and play well, they should get this game.  They wanted to stay together for one last run and that run starts here.

Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo/  Ray Allen/  Paul Pierce/  Brandon Bass/  Kevin Garnett

Boston Reserves
Mickael Pietrus
JaJuan Johnson
Avery Bradley
Etwaun Moore
Keyon Dooling
Sasha Pavlovic
Marquis Daniels
Greg Stiemsma


Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out
Chris Wilcox (heart)  out

Probable Starters
Isaiah Thomas/ Marcus Thornton /Tyreke Evans /Jason Thompson/ DeMarcus Cousins

John Salmons
Chuck Hayes
Francisco Garcia
Jimmer Fredette
Donte Greene
JJ Hickson
Travis Outlaw
Hassan Whiteside
Tyler Honeycut

Tyreke Evans (ankle) day to day

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Isaiah Thomas 
With the trade deadline in the rear view mirror, Rondo is now free to focus solely on basketball and getting his team into their offense.  He should have a decided advantage on both ends of the court against the King's rookie point guard. 

Kevin Garnett vs DeMarcus Cousins. 
KG has been playing very well and was key to the win against the Warriors.  Cousins is a tough and physical player but he's also a young player and KG needs to be just as physical and get into his head. 

Keys to the Game
Defense -  Defense is a key to every game and it will be the key to winning the championship.  Their defense was on vacation vs the Warriors and they allowed way too many easy baskets and scores in the paint.  The Celtics have to play The Celtics are 3rd in the league in points allowed (90.1 ppg) while the Kings are last, allowing 103.3 points per game. 

Crash the boards - The Kings are a good rebounding team, ranking 10th in the league with 43.0 rebounds per game.  The Celtics are still last with 38.6 rebounds per game.  Much of rebounding is desire and effort and the Celtics need to put that effort out to rebound as a team.

Effort and Focus
- The Celtics no longer have the trade deadline as a distraction and so they need to put their full focus into winning games and improving as a team.  Danny put his faith in this group and they need to reward him with their best effort every game.  They have to come out focused and keep their focus for 48 minutes. 

Official Report
Tony Brothers
Brothers is entering his 18th season as an NBA official and has officiated 1,040 regular season games and 50 playoff games during his career. He was a member of the crew that officiated the 1996 Mexico Challenge, 1998 Schick Rookie Game, 1999 McDonald’s Championship in Milan, Italy and the 2008 China Games. Prior to joining the NBA, Brothers spent four years officiating in the CBA, including three CBA Finals and a CBA All-Star Game. He has one year of collegiate officiating experience at the Junior College level. Brothers also has seven years of high school officiating experience in Virginia, including three state tournaments.There are several articles about what a terrible ref Brothers is and detailing his misdeeds. He has angered a lot of fans of just about every team because of bad calls, no calls, and one sided officiating. The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Brothers on the court. The loss this season was to the Pistons in which the Celtics took 32 free throws to 29 for the Pistons. Brothers was one of the officials in Celtics lone loss to the Heat in the regular season last year in which the Heat took 26 free throws to 16 for the Celtics. The Kings are 0-3 this season and 3-7 with Brothers in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 18-18.

Matt Boland
Entering his ninth season as an NBA official, Matt Boland has worked 490 regular season games. Prior to joining the NBA, he spent seven years officiating in the CBA, including the 1999, 2000 and 2001 CBA Finals. He also officiated for five years in the WNBA and worked the 2002 and 2003 WNBA Finals, as well as two years in the NBA Development League, working the 2003 D-League Finals. Boland also has five years of USBL officiating experience, including the 1997 USBL Finals. Boland officiated at the collegiate level for four years. He also has high school officiating experience in his home state of Connecticut and worked two State Finals games in 1997 and 1998. Boland’s athletic accomplishments include being a member of PGA where he played in several PGA tour events and still currently holds his PGA card. He spent time working as a teaching pro before joining the NBA staff. He also was a member of the 1986 New England Prep Champions Wilbraham Monson Academy Basketball team. Boland, along with Scott Foster, was questioned by the FBI in regard to the Tim Donaghy case after it was found that Donaghy often phoned Boland on game days. The FBI cleared both Boland and Foster of involvement in that betting scandal. The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Boland. Both games this season were called fairly even. Sacramento is 1-0 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Boland. His home W/L record is 20-13.

Scott Twardoski
Twardowski is one of four new officials for the 2011-12 NBA season. His experience includes six seasons and 206 games officiated in the D-League. He was part of a group of D-League officials that officiated a dozen games in the NBA last season to prepare them to join the NBA officiating corps. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason game experience and worked in NBA summer camps for eight years. He also has seven seasons of WNBA experience. In addition to his professional experience, Twardoski officiated collegiate games for 12 years and 10 years of high school officiating experience. He called one game for Boston, a win in Cleveland in January of last season and a win vs Orlando this season in which Orlando took 30 free throws to 19 for the Celtics. Sacramento is 2-2 this season and 4-3 overall with Twardoski on the court. His home W/L record for this season is 20-9.

Road Weary vs Relief
The Celtics may be getting road weary half way through their 8 game road trip.  But this is a game they can and should win if they give their full effort and focus on playing as a team.  There is also the relief factor now that the trade deadline is over.  The last time Ray was the subject of so many trade rumors, he went on a tear after the deadline.  Hopefully the whole team can do that this season.