GAME PREVIEW (via STATS LLC)
DeMarcus Cousins never has shied away from speaking his mind, and his latest bold statement challenged his Sacramento Kings teammates in the midst of a rough stretch.
The Boston Celtics aren't exactly pleased with their play lately, either.
Sacramento looks to end a six-game losing streak in Boston while looking to deal the Celtics a fifth consecutive defeat Wednesday afternoon.
Cousins is averaging 28.2 points while shooting 55.1 percent in five games since missing 10 with viral meningitis. He scored 24 and grabbed 13 rebounds Monday in the opener of a four-game road trip, but the Kings (13-18) fell 107-99 to Brooklyn.
Rudy Gay finished with a game-high 25 points as Sacramento lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Cousins wasn't impressed with the Kings' effort, though he didn't call anyone out by name.
"I'll put it like this. When you go through situations like this and things get tough, you start to see people's true colors," Cousins said. "You're going to see who's really in it and who's really not. As bad as this may seem, it's also a good thing because you're going to know who's ready to go to battle with you every night."
The Kings are just 2-5 since Tyrone Corbin replaced fired coach Mike Malone on Dec. 15. Though Cousins also said Sacramento needed to "act like we cared," he relented a bit.
"(Monday's loss was) frustrating, but as bad as we played, we still had a chance to win the game," Cousins said.
The Kings have lost five straight on the road, and they haven't won in Boston since Jan. 19, 2007. Cousins scored 31 points and added 16 rebounds in Sacramento's last trip to TD Garden on Feb. 7, but Jared Sullinger matched those exact numbers in the Celtics' 99-89 victory.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH (via Chris Forsberg)
• Sullinger's health: Sullinger sat out the past two days of practice with a right ankle sprain. That would seemingly leave him unlikely for Wednesday's game, though he expressed a desire to play through the injury. Without Sullinger, Boston's frontcourt loses some of the size it might need to contend with Sacramento's Cousins. The absence of Sullinger would hurt Boston's rebounding against a team that ranks first in the league in offensive rebound percentage and total rebound rate.
• Rotation in focus: Can coach Brad Stevens stick with a 9- or 10-man rotation. The Celtics need to find more consistent minutes for the key players on the roster and it might come at the expense of some healthy bodies who were previously in the rotation. And, if Marcus Thornton (calf) is active again, how does Stevens reincorporate the bench scorer.
• Good riddance, 2014: The Celtics enter Wednesday's game with a combined regular-season record of 22-57 in calendar year 2014. That's a mere .278 winning percentage and reflects the team navigating the murky waters of the rebuild.