Boston at Sacramento
Time: 9:30 PM CT (NBA LP)
Spread: BOS -8.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The red-hot Boston Celtics have won seven-straight games and will look to extend that streak as it travels to face the Sacramento Kings, who are coming off an impressive upset of the Golden State Warriors. Even so, Boston is 8.5 point underdogs against the Kings, with the over/under set at 212 points for the game. It will air at 9:30 (CT) PM on NBA League Pass.
Sacramento is just 9-15 at home this season and has posted an 8-15 record against the Eastern Conference.
Dealing with the hot shooting of Isaiah Thomas has been a problem for all of Boston’s recent opponents. The 5-foot-9 point guard is averaging 37.6 points and seven assists over his past five games while connecting on 50 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three point range. He has scored 37 points or more in four of the last five games, and last game’s 28-point effort against the L.A. Clippers was something of a down night, as Thomas is now averaging just under 30 points per game on the season. With the collective years of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, it is hard to consider Thomas for an MVP award, but this strong of a season wins it in many campaigns.
The Celtics are in a pretty luxurious position as the owners of Brooklyn’s 2017 draft pick, and given the glut of talent Boston has in its backcourt and the fact the draft is guard-heavy, there may be a deal imminent in Boston’s future. They have been said to have engaged in trade talks with The Orlando Magic over Nikola Vucevic but were unable to put together a package to Orlando and Rob Hennigan’s liking.
Whatsoever the case, the Celtics have plenty of talent at the guard spot and on the wings but could use an upgrade at the 4/5. Al Horford is clearly locked in as a starter, but adding Vucevic to score alongside him would have been a nice addition. The Celtics do have Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson and both have played reasonably well, but when an upgrade can be made, an upgrade should be made.
Free agent acquistion Al Horford is clearly locked in as a starter, but adding Vucevic to score alongside him would have been a nice addition. The Celtics do have Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson and both have played reasonably well, but when an upgrade can be made, an upgrade should be made.
Sacramento was dealt a much tougher hand when it lost Rudy Gay for the remainder of the season. In his stead has been the role players Matt Barnes and Anthony Tolliver, and both are competent NBA veterans but being without its second-leading scorer more or less squashed any chances the Kings had of sneaking into the postseason.
Cousins now simply has to do far too much, and though Gay was never much of a defensive talent, the Kings needed his scoring output and cannot easily replace it with any existing cogs on the roster.
Darren Collison and Ty Lawson will both have to be more proactive as scorers, and the Kings really need more from Arron Afflalo, who is seeing 25 minutes a game but averaging under eight points per contest. Looking at the collection of middling talents, it is difficult to see the Kings doing much more than returning to the lottery, and perhaps with some good tinkering, the team can make a legitimate run at a postseason appearance in 2018.
But losing Gay’s 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game is a void that the Kings simply are not good enough to fill. Sacramento will remain a competitive team because so few teams have an answer for Cousins, that much is clear.
But will Cousins remain ultimately in Sacramento? A talent like his could haul a major package to rebuild around, and this is a Kings team that has not made the playoffs in a full decade, and it is about to be season No. 11 without postseason ball. It seems at some point the desperation move is made, Cousins is dealt, and Sacto starts anew. It just has not happened with Vlade Divac and other brass insisting he is not being dealt.