Ahead of this weekend’s NBA Primetime Games, which see the Sacramento Kings host the Boston Celtics for NBA Sundays, we give you game preview which includes reasons to watch, the players to watch and other key stats.
Boston Celtics @ Sacramento Kings – Sunday, Nov. 17
REASONS TO WATCH
• Early signs are pointing to the Celtics being a contender this season. Kemba Walker has made a seamless transition to Boston. Gordon Hayward is starting to resemble the player who was an All-Star in 2017. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are brimming with talent and confidence.
• The point guard matchup features two of the fastest players in the league in Kemba Walker and Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox. Walker has been an All-Star the last three seasons. Fox finished third in the 2018-19 Kia Most Improved Player voting.
• With a young nucleus of Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III supported by solid veterans such as Harrison Barnes, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Trevor Ariza, Sacramento is eyeing a playoff run under new head coach Luke Walton.
• Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) is one of the league’s best-kept secrets. He was a standout player in Europe before signing with the Kings in 2017. He shined this summer playing for Serbia in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jayson Tatum, Celtics: Few players in the league can match Tatum’s combination of size and skill, especially at the tender age of 21. Tatum is taking and making more threes this season.
Marcus Smart, Celtics: Smart is never the first thought when you plan for the Celtics. But he’s usually in the game during crunch time, making plays all over the floor.
Harrison Barnes, Kings: The former champion and Olympian is a steadying force for the Kings at both ends of the floor and in the locker room.
Nemanja Bjelica, Kings: Bjelica (Serbia) is the kind of player every team needs. He spaces the floor and has a high basketball IQ.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Sacramento’s Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic have been teammates with the Serbian National Team.
• Kings head coach Luke Walton was teammates with Kings forward Trevor Ariza for two seasons with the Lakers, winning a title in 2009.
• Buddy Hield is one of two NBA players from the Bahamas, along with Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton.
• Sacramento’s Wenyen Gabriel is one of two NBA players from South Sudan, along with Detroit’s Thon Maker.
• Boston’s Brad Wanamaker was a standout player in France, Turkey and Germany prior to joining the Celtics in 2018.