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Game 19 Preview: Celtics vs. Kings

The Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings travel to Mexico City to play a regular season game that should have the feel of a playoff game. The NBA is trying to reach their fans outside of the US, and using the Celtics and Kings as ambassadors is a great idea.

Celtic fans will get a dose of Rajon Rondo tonight as the Celtics take on their former point guard and the talented but not-quite-organized Sacramento Kings. Boston enters the game with a 10-8 record and coming off a win over the Miami Heat. The Kings recently welcomed all-world power forward DeMarcus Cousins back into the lineup this week and he immediately responded with a 31 point, 9 rebound effort. Let's go through the numbers and figure out who comes out on top tonight.

Boston Celtics

Points P/GM- 102

Team Leader- I. Thomas, 20.8 PPG

Rebounds P/GM- 43.9

Team Leader- J. Sullinger, 9.3 RPG

Assists P/GM- 24.3

Team Leader- I. Thomas, 6.3 APG

Steals P/GM- 11.28

Team Leader- J. Crowder, 2.3 SPG

Blocks P/GM- 4.56

Team Leader- A. Johnson, 1.1 BPG

Team Shooting % .431

Three Point % .317

Free Throw % .785

SACRAMENTO KINGS

Points P/GM- 105.3

Team Leader- D. Cousins, 28.2 PPG

Rebounds P/GM- 44.5

Team Leader- D. Cousins, 11 RPG

Assists P/GM- 23.8

Team Leader- R. Rondo, 10.7 APG

Steals P/GM- 8.05

Team Leader- R. Rondo, 1.7 SPG

Blocks P/GM- 3.84

Team Leader- D. Cousins, 1.5

Team Shooting % .454

Three Point % .374

Free Throw % .723

Statistically, the teams are very close, but it is clear why the Kings are better in some areas while the Celtics have the advantage in others. Sacramento averages three more points than Boston, but they also play in the wide open-West, so that won't have an effect on tonight's game. The teams have similar rebounding numbers, which will limit extra possessions for both teams and should keep this game relatively close. One area that can be deceiving is assists; the Celtics only average one more assist per game, but if you look at the team leaders, it makes one thing very clear- Boston moves the ball better than Sacramento and the Kings tend to let Rajon Rondo dominate the ball.

When the ball moves it makes the defense harder; letting Rondo dribble for 16 seconds before he makes a play alienates teammates and makes it easier for teams to defend the Kings. Boston is also much better defensively, which is evidenced by their 11+ steals per game. So, although these teams look close on paper, the Celtics have the clear advantage because they move the ball better, defend better, and play more as a team than the Rondo-led Kings.

PREDICTION- CELTICS 108, KINGS 104

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