Thursday, February 9, 2017

Kings 108 - Celtics 92: Darren Collison, Kings snap C's seven-game win streak

The Celtics, winners of seven straight, rolled into Sacramento on two-days rest and with the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, only to fall to the Kings 108-92 at the Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night.

For those on the east coast, who stayed up late to watch Boston turn the ball over 18 times and shoot 39.7 percent from the field, including going 10-of-32 from behind the arc, you certainly didn't get you money's worth.

The Kings, who were playing without DeMarcus Cousins (league suspension) and Rudy Gay (knee), showed they could play up to their competition as they led for most of the night.

Darren Collison went toe-the-toe with his All-Star counter part; Isaiah Thomas as he finished with 26 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. But it was the bench who came through for Sacramento as Matt Barnes notched a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds, while Ben McLemore added 17 points and Willy Cauley-Stein also chipped in 14 points to snap the C's win streak.

Thomas led the Celtics with 26 points on 6-16 shooting (4-11 from 3-point range) to go along with his 7 assists. Amir Johnson finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, while Al Horford added 10 points and 6 rebounds. Marcus Smart led the bench with 10 points for the C's, who are now 33-19 on the season.

The Celtics jumped out to an early double-digit lead in the first quarter before the Kings erased the deficit and led for most of the second quarter. By halftime, it was all knotted up at 49 a piece and the home team continued to go to work in the third.

Boston never regained a lead while the Kings defended well, especially from the perimeter. The closest the C's would get was six to start the final frame.

Thomas, who leads the league in fourth quarter points at nearly 11 per contest, only scored seven in the final quarter and with the Kings up by as many as 17 points, he was subbed out along with the rest of the Celtics starters with over two and half minutes left.
"It was probably our worst loss of the season. But tip your hat to them, they won the contest in every way," said Thomas after the loss. "Tonight was one of those games you've got to forget."
Sacramento outscored the Celtics, 59-43, in the second half and 31-21 in the fourth, which is usually Thomas' time, but not on this particular night.
"We didn't move the ball, especially when we got down," Marcus Smart said. "They got hot and we just couldn't respond."
The Kings made 50-percent of their shot attempts while Boston was held to a season-low 29 made field goals.

The Celtics will have little time to regroup when they head to Portland to take on the 23-30 Trail Blazers on Thursday night as they look to avenge a loss from just over two weeks ago. Tip-off is at 10:30 PM on TNT.

Game Notes:

Sacramento's bench outscored Brad Stevens' second unit 50-32. Avery Bradley (right Achilles) missed his ninth consecutive game and did not travel with the Celtics on their mini west coast trip. Boston is now 3-7 when they play on two-days rest. Isaiah Thomas received a standing ovation during player introductions from the home crowd, the point guard was a fan favorite during his first three-season in the NBA with the Kings before being involved in a sign and trade deal with the Phoenix Suns in July of 2014.
"I think it will always be like that. The fans welcomed me here with open arms from that first day," Thomas said. "I showed it (the love) back. It's genuine."

Joel Pavón 

Picture used courtesy of Getty Images

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