12/2 Game Preview: Kings at Celtics
DeMarcus Cousins will be on the floor at TD Garden Friday night when the Sacramento Kings take on the Boston Celtics.
Wednesday night in Philadelphia, Cousins, having a terrific season for the 7-11 Kings, did his best to mop the floor and make the game in Philadelphia playable. It was called off.
"I was trying to play," Cousins said, adding he'd "never seen the floor in conditions like that," and that "player safety should be considered first."
Cousins had reasons to want to play. First of all, it was a chance to face the lowly Sixers. Second, he's been on fire, coming off a loss at Washington where he had 36 points, 20 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
He is averaging 28.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and three assists per game and, over the last three, Cousins has a 35.3 scoring average while grabbing 13.3 rebounds per game.
While Al Horford has added a big body to the Boston attack, he is not the inside presence that can deter a big body like Cousins.
On Wednesday night, Detroit big man Andre Drummond scored 20 points and hauled down 17 rebounds and the Pistons outboarded the Celtics 50-33 in their second road win in as many nights.
The Pistons were on fire all night and came within one Ish Smith point of having all five starters score 20 points in the game.
"I think we have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end," offered Boston's Jae Crowder after Wednesday's loss. "Not let a team come in and get comfortable. It has not been an ongoing thing. It happened today and it happened a couple games but, for the most part, we've been trying to impose our will first. That's what our mindset is and that's the mindset going forward."
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, selected by the Kings as the last pick of the 2011 draft, scored 27 points Wednesday night and is having an outstanding season, averaging 26.1 points and 6.3 assists.
The key to Boston's offense, Thomas has taken at least 20 shots in each of the last six games and is shooting 39 percent (17-for-52) from 3-point range.
The Celtics won both games against Sacramento and have beaten the Kings eight straight times at TD Garden -- dating to the last Sacramento on victory Jan. 19, 2007.
Horford, who has missed 10 games already this season -- nine with a concussion and then Monday night's win at Miami for the birth of his second child -- only shot the ball five times Wednesday night, a number way too low for this team to succeed.
"That's the first thing I saw when I looked at the stat sheet," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "It's not enough. I know that. So we need to do a better job of making sure we put him in position to be successful."