The Boston Celtics look to notch their 11th consecutive home victory over Sacramento when they host the struggling Kings on Wednesday. Boston brings momentum into the contest with five straight wins while Sacramento is sinking by dropping five consecutive contests.
The Celtics lost offseason acquisition Gordon Hayward (broken leg) in their opener and started 0-2 before turning things around with the winning streak that includes Monday’s solid 108-94 win over the San Antonio Spurs. “Once (the Hayward injury) happened, we really didn’t know where we were at as a group,” center Al Horford told reporters. “But I felt like we’ve really come together and we’re trying to take it day by day.” The Kings scored just 83 points in each of their past two defeats, losing those contests by an average of 22.5 points. Sacramento’s 101-83 setback against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday marks the third time it has lost by 17 or more points during the five-game skid.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Sacramento), NBCSN Boston
ABOUT THE KINGS (1-6): Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox bounced back from a poor effort in Sunday’s loss to Washington - two points on 1-of-8 shooting - to score 18 points against the Pacers. The fifth overall pick of the 2017 draft has scored in double digits five times but is having trouble adjusting to losing - he has already been part of as many losses as his one college season at Kentucky (32-6). “It’s different,” Fox said after Tuesday’s setback. “For me, I’ve never really lost in my life. It’s just a hump we need to get through.”
ABOUT THE CELTICS (5-2): Point guard Kyrie Irving is beginning to feel comfortable and is averaging 22.6 points during the winning streak, including 24 in each of the past three games. But just as impressive has been Irving’s fit on the defensive end as he as recorded multiple steals in six of the team’s seven games and is averaging 2.4 thefts per game. “He’s doing a good job of knowing when to peel back and switch,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “He’s doing a good job of chasing when he needs to chase. He stays in plays. He gets his hands on balls.”
1. The Celtics have won six of the past nine meetings.
2. Sacramento SG Buddy Hield is averaging just 5.5 points on 5-of-20 shooting over the past two games.
3. Boston PF Marcus Morris (knee) is slated to make his season debut on Wednesday.
PREDICTION: Celtics 112, Kings 89