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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 30th (All times Eastern)
Boston Celtics (14-15) at Sacramento Kings (10-19), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Sacramento Kings hope to keep the momentum going from a big victory last time out as they host the struggling Boston Celtics on Sunday evening.
The Kings won their third straight home game in dramatic fashion on Friday, getting a 3-pointer from James Johnson at the buzzer to escape with a 106-105 victory over the New York Knicks after blowing a 27-point lead.
New York went up by four with 2:51 to play, but Isaiah Thomas hit a pair of free throws with 33.2 seconds left to cut it to two before DeMarcus Cousins picked off a pass by the Knicks' Jason Kidd.
Thomas then missed a jumper before Johnson grabbed a rebound and missed a layup. Thomas' offensive board kept the ball with the Kings and John Salmons found Johnson behind the arc to set up his game-winning bucket, which was his first 3-pointer of the season.
Johnson finished the game with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Marcus Thornton finished with 18 points. The Kings won for just the third time in 10 games.
"I hope we come together more as a family now," Thornton remarked. "Hopefully we string some wins after this."
Cousins played for the first time in three games, notching 15 points with 10 rebounds and five assists. The center had been held out the past two games following a verbal confrontation with head coach Keith Smart during halftime of a game versus the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 21.
However, guard Tyreke Evans missed his sixth straight game due to a knee injury that has held him out of 11 of the past 15 games. He remains day-to- day.
The Celtics had their own injury issues ahead of Saturday's 101-83 setback to the hosting Golden State Warriors. Guard Rajon Rondo was a late scratch due to a bruised right hip, while Leandro Barbosa missed his fourth game in a row due to personal reasons.
Courtney Lee got the start in Rondo's place and had 18 points, but Boston lost its second straight and for the sixth time in eight games.
The Celtics shot just 36 percent from the floor and Paul Pierce had 13 points on 4-of-20 shooting. Jason Terry added 13, but made just six of his 19 attempts, going 1-for-7 from 3-point range.
"It's hard to tell a shooter not to shoot an open shot," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said his team's poor shooting performance. "So as a coach you're kind of stuck; you let them keep taking them and you hope that some go in. And they didn't."
At 14-15, Boston fell below .500 for the first time since it was 2-3 on Nov. 9.
Rondo is expected to be a game-time decision for tonight, while Barbosa could be back in action.
The Celtics close out a four-game road trip and look to break even on the swing following their seventh loss in the past eight road games.
The Kings logged a 120-95 rout over the visiting Celtics in the lone meeting a season ago. That victory snapped an eight-game slide in this series and first in their last five at home versus Boston.
12/30 10:29:09 ET