NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 16 (All times eastern)
Boston Celtics (23-19) at Sacramento Kings (14-29), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics will resume a lengthy eight-game road trip on Friday in Sacramento with the distraction of the trade deadline finally behind them.
Rumors have hounded Celtics stars Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce for weeks but in the end Boston basketball chief Danny Ainge chose to stand pat as Boston closes in on Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia.
After losing the first game of their long trek to the Lakers, the Celtics rebounded with wins against the Clippers and Golden State and is now just 1 1/2 games behind the Sixers.
On Wednesday Kevin Garnett hit the eventual game-winning jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining, lifting the Celtics over the Warriors, 105-103, at Oracle Arena.
Garnett broke a 103-103 tie with a 19-footer as the shot clock was winding down, and the Celtics held on after Nate Robinson missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer at the other end.
The basket gave Garnett 24 points to lead Boston, which got 22 points from Brandon Bass and 15 apiece from Pierce and Mickael Pietrus. Rondo netted eight points and dished out 14 assists.
"We didn't play a lick of defense tonight, but we played defense when it mattered," said Pierce.
The news wasn't all good for Boston, however. Before the game, the Celtics announced forward Chris Wilcox will miss the rest of the season because of an aortic abnormality. He will have surgery later this month after a recent scan showed a significant enlargement of his aorta.
Boston is now 7-11 on the road this season and will also visit Denver, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Philadelphia before returning to Beantown.
The Kings, meanwhile, started a season-high nine-game homestand with two consecutive wins but have dropped three straight since, including a 124-112 setback to Detroit on Wednesday.
Tyreke Evans netted 23 points to pace Sacramento, but had to be helped off the court late in the fourth quarter after rolling his ankle.
Jason Thompson and Isaiah Thomas contributed 21 points apiece in the Kings' third straight loss. Thompson added a game-high 15 rebounds.
"We just broke down in all aspects of the game," Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins said. "We just have to come back and do better."
Sacramento has dropped eight straight against the C's and hasn't beaten them since a 104-101 triumph in California's capital back on Feb. 20, 2007. Boston has won four in a row at the Kings.
03/16 10:39:58 ET