The Celtics wrap up their four-game, west coast swing Tuesday night in California's state capital, looking to post a 3-1 record on the trip after a meeting with the Kings. This is the second of two meeting between the Celts and Kings this season; Boston pounded Sacramento, 119-95, at TD Garden just under three weeks ago.
For the Celtics, it will be their first game since Sunday's win going away at the Lakers, in which the combination of great second half shooting (69 percent from the floor), stellar team defense on Lakers star Kobe Bryant, particularly by Ray Allen, and a general look of malaise on the part of the home team equaled a stirring, 109-96 win. It marked at least a small measure of revenge after the Celts dropped Games 6 and 7 of last year's Finals, ultimately giving the Lakers their 16th title.
But the Celts aren't looking too far ahead or jumping to any conclusions, as Paul Pierce told the Boston Herald (via CelticsBlog).
"We learned our lesson last year. I think as a group, we looked ahead a lot," Pierce said. "We're definitely not looking ahead this year because it can come down to another game 7 and hopefully we can have it on our home court."
As for the Kings, they are buried near the bottom of the Western Conference cellar at 12-33, just a game and a half behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for last place overall out west. They have shown signs of life recently, beating both the Lakers and Hornets back-to-back in their last two games. Led by second-year point guard Tyreke Evans (aka John Calipari's final one-and-done phenom at Memphis before he "vacated" that school for Kentucky) and his 17.8 points per game, and mercurial, rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins (13.5 PPG, 7.7 RPG), Sacramento is trying to rebuild as the third youngest team in the NBA.
Getting back to the idea of not looking ahead, the Celts will be trying to close out the road trip without peering too far into the future, which features home games against Dallas (Friday night), Orlando (Sunday afternoon) and a rematch with the Lakers (next Thursday night), all in the next 10 days.
The Celts (36-11) face the Kings (12-33) Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST, on Comcast Sports Net New England.