Ray Allen, Celtics Outlast Kings in Messy West Coast Road Trip Finale


Ray Allen, Celtics Outlast Kings in Messy West Coast Road Trip FinaleFinal: Celtics 95, Kings 90. The Celtics let the final seconds bleed off the clock, and that's all she wrote. The Celtics have finished off a satisfying come-from-behind victory.

Ray Allen leads the C's with 22 points and six rebounds; included among his shots were four 3-pointers, moving him to within eight of Reggie Miller's all-time record. Rajon Rondo adds 17 points and Paul Pierce, 15 for Boston.

DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans both fill up the stat sheet, with 20 points each and oodles of rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. But two guys can't do it alone.

The Celtics are snowed in Tuesday night, but they'll catch a flight back to Boston on Wednesday. They'll be back home to play host to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

Fourth quarter, 2:32, Celtics 91-82: Beno Udrih just turned the ball over yet again. The Kings are really melting down.

The C's have finally had a quarter of good focus and good execution. That's why they're on the way to wrapping up a victory.

Fourth quarter, 5:48, Celtics 87-77: Now it's a 9-0 run for the Celtics, who are ready to finish this thing off. Glen Davis, of all people, just threw down a dunk.

Stick a fork in the Kings.

Fourth quarter, 6:51, Celtics 83-77: Ray Allen just hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game, giving the Celtics a six-point lead in the fourth quarter and also moving himself to within eight treys of Reggie Miller.

Meanwhile, the Kings are crumbling. The Celtics have them right where they want them.

Fourth quarter, 9:14, Celtics 78-75: This one's not over yet. Far from it. Pooh Jeter just knocked down a deadly corner jumper, and the Kings' offense is starting to come to life again.

Every single Celtic on the floor needs to maintain focus defensively. They can't let the Kings' young scorers have anything easy.

End of third quarter, Celtics 74-71: The Celtics close the quarter on a 7-0 run, and Kendrick Perkins gets a stop on the final possession by wrestling a defensive rebound away from DeMarcus Cousins. The C's are in control now.

If the Celtics can win this game after sleepwalking through the first 30 minutes, it'll be impressive.

Third quarter, 1:49, Kings 71-69: All of a sudden, we're looking at an exciting, up-tempo ballgame with the offensive execution clicking for both teams. Where was this tone for the first, oh, 30 minutes?

Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins each get a bucket down low, keeping the Celtics close in a game that they've trailed most of the way. But to pull this game out, the C's really need to string together a few more stops.

Third quarter, 4:53, Celtics 62-61: Kevin Garnett draws a foul from Donte Greene, gets to the line, and hits two free throws. The Celtics are now on an 11-2 run, and they've taken their first lead in a long, long time.

It's been Garnett's inspired play on both ends that's carried the Celtics back into this ballgame. He had an emphatic block on Samuel Dalembert a minute ago, and he's been ultra-fired up ever since. It's sent shockwaves of energy throughout the team.

Third quarter, 6:22, Kings 61-56: The Celtics have to waste a timeout as Paul Pierce awkwardly falls to the floor clutching the basketball.

Silly use of a timeout, even a 20-second one, but that's the kind of game this has become. Every possession is crucial for the Celtics. They've got to maintain control of the ball by any means necessary.

It shouldn't take a perfect ballgame to beat the Kings. But the Celtics might need to be darn near perfect to have a chance from here.

Third quarter, 8:04, Kings 59-53: If they want to stage a comeback in this game, the Celtics will need to take care of the little things. Like, you know, hitting free throws.

Unsurprisingly, Shaq just missed one.

Little things, guys. Little things.

Third quarter, 10:00, Kings 56-49: The Celtics come out strong to start the third quarter, rattling off a 4-0 run, but yet another Rajon Rondo turnover leads to a fast-break bucket for Beno Udrih.

Still too many mistakes. Way too many. Where is the Celtics' focus? They either left it in Los Angeles, or shipped it home a day early for the Mavericks game. Because it ain't in Sacramento.

Halftime, Kings 54-45: The Celtics' lazy defense is making Donte Greene look like Larry Bird.

Greene has hit every shot in sight, from everywhere on the floor, and he now has a game-high 15 points for the Kings, 13 of them in the second quarter. The Celtics have gotten torched by several random bench guys this season, but none quite like this. Greene is absolutely killing them.

Rajon Rondo, meanwhile, has 13 points, five assists and three steals to lead the C's. He's playing with energy and aggression; everyone else in green missed that memo.

The Celtics have no chance of coming back in this game — unless they can bring themselves to, you know, care.

Second quarter, 2:55, Kings 41-37: This one's starting to get chippy. Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins just barrelled into each other like speeding monster trucks.

The Celtics are beginning to play harder, but they still need to find their smart, mistake-free execution if they want to reestablish control of this game.

Second quarter, 4:20, Kings 40-33: The Kings are leading this ballgame thanks in part to a 19-18 edge on the glass. That's despite their leading big man, rookie DeMarcus Cousins, having only one rebound. He's been boxed out all night by Shaquille O'Neal (four boards) and Kendrick Perkins (three).

It's been a total team effort from the Kings to win the war on the glass. They're not doing it with size or strength — rather, it's with energy. The Celtics have very little of that to spare at the moment.

Second quarter, 6:11, Kings 34-31: Now it's a three-second violation on Shaq. The big fella can't do anything right tonight.

The C's are sending Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett back into the game for Nate Robinson and Glen Davis. Time for the starting five to make this game watchable again.

Second quarter, 8:03, Celtics 31-28: The Celtics are really struggling to get their offense going. Mistakes left and right.

First Shaquille O'Neal has a chance to score easily under the basket; instead, he drops the ball and turns it over. Then Nate Robinson has a layup on a 2-on-1 fast break; instead, he charges.

This has been an ugly effort from the C's in the second quarter.

Second quarter, 9:38, Celtics 27-24: Well, this can't be good. We're nearly three minutes into the second quarter, and the Celtics' second unit has yet to score a point.

Kendrick Perkins just got his attempted layup slammed by Donte Greene, who promptly headed back down the floor, got to the basket and drew two free throws. Swish, swish.

The C's are sending Shaq back in for Perk. They need some firepower on offense. This unit isn't getting it done.

End of first quarter, Celtics 27-20: The Celtics have a seven-point lead, and they'll surely take it. But it's hard to get an uglier seven-point lead than that.

In a running, gunning, turnover-rich game, the Celtics have managed to pull ahead of the Kings. But they've still yet to establish control over the game. It's been a total mess.

Ray Allen gets the C's started with 10 points; Rajon Rondo adds nine with three assists, three steals and a rebound.

Tyreke Evans has dropped seven so far for the Kings.

Now, can either side begin to take care of the basketball? We shall see.

First quarter, 2:49, Celtics 21-15: Rajon Rondo's speed, agility and aggressive instincts with the basketball are giving the Kings absolute fits. Rondo just schooled Tyreke Evans and drove to the basket yet again. He's now got nine points, three assists, three steals and a rebound.

Tyreke is a big and athletic guard who can guard just about anyone at the one or two, but Rondo's making things difficult. He's just so blazing fast that he can't be contained.

First quarter, 4:29, Celtics 17-13: The big thing enabling the Celtics to stay ahead in the first: free-throw shooting. The C's have made all five of their attempts from the line so far.

Rajon Rondo is shooting an absolutely horrendous 49.2 percent from the line this season. It's encouraging to see him make his first three tries tonight.

First quarter, 5:54, Celtics 13-11: The C's may have themselves a modest lead midway through the first, but this has been an ugly, sloppy basketball game. No one's been able to run a halfcourt set — it's all turnovers and fast breaks. The Celtics have already coughed the ball up six times to the Kings' five.

Rajon Rondo broke the Celtics' single-season record for steals last year. If every game were against these Kings, he'd break the NBA's all-time record in no time.

Rondo already has two of the team's four steals.

First quarter, 7:29, Kings 11-10: One thing is clear — Shaquille O'Neal doesn't like being pushed around by all these young kids.

Shaq has gotten really physical already with both DeMarcus Cousins, who's engaged in a couple shoving matches with him on the block, and Tyreke Evans, who keeps trying to drive the lane and score.

The Diesel's not afraid to deliver a hard foul. Even to someone who was born during his college years.

First quarter, 9:25, Celtics 10-8: The Celtics rattle off a quick 10-2 run to claim the lead, including a pair of trifectas from Ray Allen, but Tyreke Evans gets a steal and a drive to the basket for a three-point play.

The C's have to keep Tyreke out of the paint. He can wreak havoc if they let him.

First quarter, 11:30, Kings 3-0: Omri Casspi gets the Kings on the board first, draining a 3 from the corner. Beautiful execution offensively, beautiful shot. That should send the C's a message — this won't be easy.

The post-Lakers letdown might lead to minor defensive mistakes, not closing out on corner 3s. Those minor mistakes could doom the Celtics.

Solid communication and quick rotation on defense will be crucial in this game.

9:30 p.m.: The Celtics are a half hour away from closing out their West Coast road trip. The big question, of course: Can they avoid the letdown?

It's the end of a long trip, and the C's are coming off an emotional win over a Lakers team that took them down in the Finals last year. Focusing on beating Sacramento is probably the last thing on their minds.

These kinds of games give the Celtics trouble. Remember the Miami win on opening night? The Celtics fell to Cleveland the next day. These things happen.

The C's need to bring their A game to close out this trip with a win.

8 a.m.: The Celtics had this West Coast road trip circled on their calendars from the very beginning. Perhaps even before the very beginning.

C's coach Doc Rivers explained last week that coaches are given preliminary schedules for their seasons every summer, before they're released to the public, and they're given a chance to request changes. When Rivers got his schedule this year, he knew exactly what he wanted to change.

This trip has been a brutal one. Six nights, four cities, and way more time on the team plane than on the basketball court.

But the C's have slogged through it, earning a respectable 2-1 record on the trip so far, and now comes the easy part. First they take on the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, easily their softest opponent of the four-game swing, and then it's home, sweet home.

They are, however, catching the Kings at a tough time. The young guns from Sacramento are firing away this week with three wins in their last four, including a shocking upset of the Lakers at the Staples Center. Tyreke Evans is putting up big numbers again, DeMarcus Cousins is crashing the boards like a beast, and the Kings are even playing a little defense on rare occasion.

The Celtics have also won three of their last four, also including a road win in L.A. They beat the Kings in their first meeting three weeks ago, 119-95, and they'll now look to finish the season sweep on Tuesday night at ARCO Arena. Tipoff is slated for 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

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