Celtics Wrap: Boston Below .500 Again After Brutal Loss To Kings

Again, Boston is below .500 on the season

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March 19, 2021

The Boston Celtics have done it again.

The Celtics fell to another inferior opponent, the Sacramento Kings, on Friday night with a 107-96 verdict at TD Garden. Boston is back below .500 much like it was prior to a four-game winning streak just before the NBA All-Star break.

The Celtics had a one-point lead, 91-90, before the Kings closed the game on a 17-5 run.

No Celtics player reached the 20-point mark. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 19 points on 8-for-20 shooting, Kemba Walker scored 16 points on 6-for-18 shooting while Jayson Tatum (15 points, 6-for-16 from the field), Daniel Theis (14 points on 6-for-12 from the field) and Robert Williams (12 points, 6-for-8 from the field) all finished with double figures.

Boston shot 43 percent (39-for-91) from the field and 39 percent (12-for-31) from beyond the arc during the contest.

Sacramento shot 46 percent (37-for-81) from the field and 40 percent (12-for-30) from 3-point range in the game. D’Aaron Fox led all scored with 29 points while Richaun Holmes (25) and Buddy Hield (22) scored 20 or more for the Kings.

Boston is now 20-21 on season while the Kings improve to 17-24.

Here’s how it went down:

STARTING FIVE
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis

SLOW START
The Celtics came out rather flat against inferior competition Friday, as has been the theme for much of their .500 season. The Kings shot 52 percent from the floor and took a 28-22 lead over the Celtics after the first quarter.

Boston shot 41 percent from the floor (9-foor-22) including 44 percent from beyond the arc (4-for-9). Jaylen Brown lead Boston with seven points, four early rebounds and two steals.

Walker chipped in six points, but there wasn’t a whole lot to brag about on the offensive end as the C’s assists just three baskets. Tatum had three first-quarter points.

Buddy Hield led Sacramento with 11 points in the opening quarter behind three of the Kings’ four 3-pointers.

UNINSPIRING HALF
Sacramento extended its advantage to 15 points eight minutes into the quarter before taking a 55-45 lead into the intermission.

It was a fairly uninspiring first-half performance from the C’s, who did miss their fair share of decent looks, but seemed to lack energy. Boston shot 38 percent from the floor in the first half and 36 percent (18-for-48) from 3-point range (5-for-14).

On the bright side, Tatum scored nine of his 12 first-half points in the period while Theis finished the half with 10 points of his own.

The Kings had three in double figures at the half with Richaun Holmes (13), De’Aaron Fox (11) and Hield (11).

MUCH BETTER EFFORT
The Celtics showcased a much better defensive intensity, and it helped them on the offensive end, as well. All told, Boston cut Sacramento’s advantage to 82-81 heading into the final quarter.

Boston shot 15-for-22 from the field in the quarter including 5-for-7 from long range.

Brown scored 10 of his 17 points in the third quarter while Tatum (15 points), Theis (14) and Robert Williams (10) helped on the offensive end. Payton Pritchard hit two of Boston’s five 3-pointers in the period.

Holmes led all scorers through three with 20 points for Sacramento.

KINGS DELIVER THE KNOCK OUT
Grant Williams hit a 3-pointer with 7:33 left to give the Celtics a 87-86 lead, their first since the first quarter, and Brown scored a bucket to put the Celtics ahead 91-90 with under five minutes left, but it was all Sacramento from there on.

Fox hit a 3-pointer to give the Kings back the lead 90-87 six minutes into the quarter and hit three straight buckets to help Sacramento take a 97-93 lead with just over two minutes remaining. It came during a 13-2 crunch-time run for the Kings, who took a 103-93 lead with 1:18 left.

In the fourth quarter, Boston shot 6-for-21 from the field and 2-for-10 from long range.

PLAY OF THE GAME
Plays like these were what allowed the Celtics to mount their third-quarter comeback.

UP NEXT
The Celtics will host the Orlando Magic at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon in a 3:30 p.m. ET tip.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart
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Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox
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