Thursday, December 21, 2023

Celtics 144, Kings 119: Derrick White, Jaylen Brown lead Boston in bounce back victory

The Celtics topped the Sacramento Kings in a 144-119 blowout Wednesday at Golden 1 Center on a second night of a back-to-back.

Derrick White, coming off a 30-point night in Boston's disappointing overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors less than 24 hours prior, finished with 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting and seven assists. Jaylen Brown also notched 28 points on 11-of-21 from the field to go along with six assists to help the C's improve to 21-6 on the season.

Kristaps Porzingis, who returned from a one game absence (calf) recorded 24 points, nine rebounds and six blocks (out of the team's 10), while Jrue Holiday had a season-high 21 points (eight rebounds and 10 assists) and Payton Pritchard also chipped in 20 points off the bench.

It was the fifth time in franchise history and first since 1987 that five Celtics players scored 20+ points in the same game.

Boston playing without Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Al Horford (rest) against the Kings, bounced back from blowing a 17-point lead Tuesday night in San Francisco.
"It's a long year. You have to have the proper perspective," coach Joe Mazzulla said. "Of course, we're not going to be happy if we lose. The great thing about playing 82 games is you get a chance to shake it off the next day."
After only connecting on 17-of-58 from long distance against the Warriors, the C's found the ocean again by knocking down 22-of-42 (52.4%) on 3-point attempts in Sacramento -- with White and Pritchard leading Boston with six made 3s respectively on a combined 12-of-20 from behind the arc.
"We had great shooters missing wide-open looks," White said in his postgame comments after hitting 6-of-9 from deep. "You just have to trust that if you continue to get looks people will knock them down. We were able to make them today like we weren't yesterday. That's just the name of the game."
De'Aaron Fox had a game-high 29 points on 9-of-16 from the floor, including 6-of-8 from long distance to lead the Kings, who dropped to 16-10 on the year. Domantas Sabonis recorded 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Keegan Murray also scored 13 points in the loss.

Sacramento opened the game hitting 11 from 3 and the visiting team responded with eight of their own to tie the league record for the most combined made 3s in a quarter (the last to do it were the Mavericks and Warriors in a game back during the 2018-19 campaign).

Despite trailing 41-38 to start the second period, the Celtics continued their hot shooting from 3 by making six more treys to take a lead for good and a 74-66 advantage into the break. Both teams connected on 28 combined 3s to tie the NBA record for the most made 3-pointers in a half (also set from that same Mavs and Dubs game in 2019).

Boston began the third quarter with back-to-back 3s by White and Holiday (4-of-6), while Porzingis scored 14 points in the period as part of a 32-12 run to go up by 30 -- the largest margin of the night -- before it was 113-90 heading into the final frame.

In the end, the C's held Sacrament to 10 made 3s the final three quarters they made 11 in the first 12 minutes and they outscored the home team 70-53 in the second half.
"We just kind of made an adjustment, just being there on the catch," White said. "They play fast. They got a lot of talented players. We stepped up to the challenge."
The Celtics, now winners of five straight over the Kings, will travel to Los Angeles to conclude their western swing with a matchup with the Clippers (17-10) Saturday afternoon (3:30 pm ET) and the Lakers (15-14) on Christmas Day (5:00 pm ET on ABC). 

Game Notes:

Boston was 55.4% from the field, while the Kings were 47.3% from the floor and 21-of-44 (47.7%) from beyond the arc. The Celtics won the battle of the boards 50-37 and points in the paint 48-40. The C's dished out 35 assists (nine turnovers) on 51 baskets and Sacramento had 29 dimes (seven turnovers) on 43 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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