NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 16th (All times eastern)
Boston Celtics (32-18) at Sacramento Kings (18-34), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Most consider the Boston Celtics a serious contender to win their second NBA championship in three years but Doc Rivers' veteran-laden bunch must stay healthy the rest of the way as it kicks off the second-half of the season in Sacramento on Tuesday night.
In Boston's first game after the 2009 All-Star break, a 90-85 loss at Utah last Feb. 19, the team lost star forward Kevin Garnett to a knee injury.
The 13-time All-Star really hasn't been right since. He missed all but four regular season games and the playoffs in the 2008-09 campaign, effectively ending the C's championship hopes. Meanwhile, Garnett missed nine contests from Dec. 30-Jan. 20 this year with yet another knee problem.
The Big Ticket has been pedestrian in his performance since returning to the lineup and the Celtics dropped their second in a row heading into the break last Wednesday in the Big Easy.
Rookie Darren Collison scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter in that one as the Hornets shut down Boston's All-Star frontcourt combination of Garnett and Paul Pierce in the second half to come away with a 93-85 victory over the Celtics.
Pierce, the winner of the Three-point Shootout during All-Star weekend, had 15 points, but also eight of Boston's 23 turnovers as the Celtics lead in the Atlantic Division shrunk to four games over the Toronto Raptors. Marquis Daniels had 14 points, while Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen each chipped in 13 in defeat.
Pierce and Garnett were limited to a total of two points in the second half, as the duo combined to shoot 1-of-11 from the field over the final 24 minutes.
The Celtics are just 5-5 since Garnett returned from his latest knee injury and a miserable 9-13 since Christmas.
The Kings, ended the first half by snapping an ugly 11-game road losing streak with a pair of wins, the last coming in Auburn Hills last Wednesday.
Kevin Martin had 26 points to carry Sacramento to a 103-97 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Beno Udrih added 22 points and six assists for the Kings while Tyreke Evans, the MVP of Friday's Rookie-Spohmpres game, and Andres Nocioni each added 13 points in the victory.
Boston has won four straight over the Kings and its last visit to Sacramento resulted in the Kings' largest home loss in franchise history, a 108-63 blowout on Dec. 28, 2008.
02/16 10:44:07 ET