Paul Pierce, Celtics Get Back on Track With Blowout Win Over Sacramento Kings


January 12, 2011

Paul Pierce, Celtics Get Back on Track With Blowout Win Over Sacramento KingsFinal: Celtics 119, Kings 95. The Celtics' two-game losing streak is a thing of the past. They've put it behind them with a convincing blowout win at home over the Sacramento Kings.

Eight — yes, count them, eight — C's finish in double figures, led by Paul Pierce with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Semih Erden is the last Celtic to break through, as he finishes with NBA career highs of 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out.

Carl Landry is the Kings' leading scorer in this one, as he comes off the bench to drop 17.

The Celtics have a practice Thursday afternoon before returning Friday night to the TD Garden, where they'll take on the Charlotte Bobcats at 7:30 p.m.

Fourth quarter, 3:13, Celtics 110-88: Nate Robinson is making all kinds of crazy long-range shots, but you have to worry about this becoming habit-forming.

In garbage time with no one covering him, Nate has padded his numbers nicely. He's now got 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, 1-of-2 from 3-point range.

Nice line, but he can't shoot like this every night.

Fourth quarter, 6:01, Celtics 105-84: Pretty much no one is noticing, but Von Wafer has put together a pretty impressive night of perfect shooting. He's 3-for-3 from the field, 1-for-1 from 3-point range and now 2-for-2 from the line.

He also manages to take a hard foul from his old Rockets teammate, Carl Landry, without losing his cool. Props to him.

Fourth quarter, 8:54, Celtics 97-73: With a comfortable lead, the Celtics' reserves are chucking away. Nate Robinson has knocked down a pair of long jumpers, a 3 and a long two, while Luke Harangody has missed a couple of shots.

This game is devolving quickly. It looks like part-skills competition, part-3-point shootout, part dunk contest. There's very little team basketball actually being played at this point.

End of third quarter, Celtics 90-67: The Celtics are making it look easy, roaring out to a 23-point lead at the end of the third. They're now shooting 54.3 percent as a team, a sharp uptick from how the night began. At this point, they're on cruise control.

Five Celtics are now in double figures, including Marquis Daniels with 10.

The C's are well on their way to snapping that two-game losing streak.

Third quarter, 2:45, Celtics 83-61: Rajon Rondo is the newest Celtic to crack double figures, knocking down a mid-range jumper to move to 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Looks like the C's will be able to rest their starters in the fourth quarter.

Third quarter, 4:53, Celtics 79-57: Back-to-back buckets from Paul Pierce, who's just making the Kings' defense look silly by piling up easy points inside.

Pierce now has 25. Shouldn't someone be guarding him?

Third quarter, 7:02, Celtics 73-55: Another Ray Allen 3, and the Celtics have pushed their lead to 18.

If this game isn't over, it's at least close. The Kings don't seem to have the strength to make their push back.

It's not surprising. They played an exhausting overtime game in Washington the night before, and the effects are really starting to show.

Third quarter, 9:30, Celtics 66-51: The Celtics are starting to run away. Don't expect them to look back anytime soon.

Ray Allen just drained a 3 to open the C's lead to 15 for the first time. He's now in double figures with 11 points, and Paul Pierce is up to a game-high 19.

The Kings have no answer for either of them.

Halftime, Celtics 57-49: Not a bad first half for Paul Pierce, who has 19 points at the break on 7-of-10 shooting. He's the biggest reason the Celtics head to the locker room with an eight-point lead.

Ray Allen and Glen Davis also have eight points each for the Celtics, who lead despite shooting a low (for them) 46.9 percent.

Beno Udrih has 14 points and Carl Landry has 11 for the Kings.

If the Celtics can become a little more efficient offensively in the second half, this one has the potential to become a blowout.

Second quarter, 2:50, Celtics 48-42: Glen Davis is starting to turn it on after a slow start. He had four points a minute ago, on 2-of-6 shooting; he's since poured in four more points on a pair of short jumpers.

Baby's been leading the team in shot attempts since KG went down, which is alarming. If he tightened up his range a little bit and just took solid inside shots, he could help the team be more efficient.

Second quarter, 4:37, Celtics 44-39: Paul Pierce returns after a solid seven-plus minutes of rest.

Pierce was a force for the Celtics in the first quarter, dropping 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

Can he pick up now where he left off?

Second quarter, 5:51, Celtics 42-34: The Celtics continue to hold a nice lead, but here's one alarming stat — they're still allowing the Kings to shoot 12-for-23 (52.2 percent).

The defensive energy still doesn't appear to be there without Kevin Garnett around. Against a better team, the C's would be toast.

Second quarter, 7:29, Celtics 40-31: The Celtics rattle off a lightning-quick 7-0 run, capped off by a 3 from Nate Robinson. Nate now has six points, and Semih Erden surprisingly has six as well.

It's encouraging that Doc has gotten so much production out of his bench guys. The C's have a nice lead, and Rondo, Pierce and Shaq are all enjoying some quality rest.

Second quarter, 8:51, Celtics 33-29: Little flash of maturity from Glen Davis — rather than take it to the basket for his own shot on a fast break, Big Baby kicked it out to Nate Robinson for a wide-open 3. Good plan — Nate drains it, and the Celtics push their lead back to four.

Davis is the only starter currently on the floor. Doc would love to be resting all five, surely, but Harangody's foul trouble makes that impossible at the moment. (Unless Doc wants to go super-duper small with Avery Bradley out there…)

Second quarter, 10:02, Celtics 30-26: The Celtics already had enough problems with their big man depth; this'll only make it worse. Luke Harangody has picked up back-to-back fouls on two defensive possessions, so he's now got three.

Doc Rivers has been worrying lately that Glen Davis' minutes are too high. But now it looks like he doesn't have a choice but to keep them that way.

End of first quarter, Celtics 28-22: Somehow, the Celtics have managed a lead after 12 minutes despite being dramatically outshot by the Sacramento Kings, 56.0 percent to 42.9.

All the credit in the world is die to Paul Pierce, who's got 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting to open the ballgame, including a pair of 3s.

The C's have run into some early troubles, but The Truth has set them free.

First quarter, 1:48, 19-19: The Celtics are shooting 8-of-24.

In a way, it's miraculous the Celtics had a lead for so long. It just took a 3 from Francisco Garcia to tie the ballgame after a long stretch with the C's in front.

The C's are making a lot of inexplicable misses — layups, short jumpers, wide-open looks. they should have about 30 points right now.

First quarter, 4:29, Celtics 14-12: Semih Erden is the first man off the bench for Doc Rivers, replacing Shaquille O'Neal midway through the first.

It's a good thing that Doc can still trust Semih for a few minutes here and there. If Jermaine O'Neal is going to be sidelined for any significant period of time, then Doc needs to get quality minutes out of Semih as a backup center. His only other option is to go very, very small.

First quarter, 6:46, Celtics 10-6: Pooh Jeter might have the funniest name in this year's rookie class, and he might be one of the flashiest scorers, too.

Jeter just found an open lane and slashed his way to the basket. Another Kings bucket, and they're now beginning to claw their way back. The Celtics' scoring drought is now nearly three minutes.

First quarter, 9:33, Celtics 10-2: If the Celtics keep hitting shots like this, then forget it. Game over. The C's are 4-for-7 to open things up, including made 3-pointers from both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

The Kings don't appear to be doing much on the perimeter to contest jumpers. The C's will look to take advantage all night long.

First quarter, 11:37, Celtics 2-0: The Celtics draw first blood — Glen Davis misses to open the ballgame, but the Celtics get a rare offensive rebound and an eventual putback from Ray Allen.

Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. Could the C's actually begin to generate some second-chance points?

6:55 p.m.: This time the Celtics are down not one All-Star big man, but two. Jermaine O'Neal will also be missing in action Wednesday against the Kings.

Garnett still needs at least one more game to recover from his lower leg injury, while O'Neal has had another flareup in his sore knee. Both guys will be shut down until Friday at the earliest.

Expect the Celtics to go small early and often. Marquis Daniels isn't naturally a power forward, but he might have to play like one now.

6 p.m.: Welcome to the TD Garden, where the snow is falling like mad, but there are two NBA teams ready to tough it out and play some ball. The Kings are fresh off a road trip up to Boston from Washington, D.C., and they're ready to play their second game in as many nights.

One guy who might not be ready to play: Kevin Garnett. The C's forward has not been seen on the court pregame for warmups, and there's a good chance he sits one more game out.

We're awaiting official word from head coach Doc Rivers on that. Do stay tuned.

8 a.m.: Last year, the Celtics became a .500 team when injuries hit, finishing the season 27-27 when the health of their veteran Big Three began to be an issue.

There's the risk of the same thing happening again in 2011, as a calf injury to Kevin Garnett has derailed a Celtics squad that is once more playing .500 basketball (4-4) since KG went down.

But coach Doc Rivers denied Tuesday that he sees his team simply falling into "waiting for KG" mode.

"I don't," Rivers said. "They may be, but I don't sense that. I just think this is a low-focus stretch for us. It happens, but we've got to stay on top of it so it doesn't happen."

The Celtics have let their guard down without the Big Ticket in the lineup, and they've suffered on both sides of the ball. Their offense has lacked ball movement, their defense has lacked intensity, and their record is showing the effects of both.

The C's will look to reverse that slide on Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings. This is the kind of team the Celtics can't take lightly — they're young, hungry and eager to record a statement win over a good team.

With a pair of fantastic young athletes in Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings have the explosiveness to steal a win if the Celtics aren't focused. With or without KG in the lineup, the C's will need to buckle down.

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