After Monday's poor showing against the Rockets, Paul Pierce told reporters that the team needed to look at themselves in the mirror and check themselves at the door.
The team got the message.
"I mean, Paul knew last game that none of us as a group came with the right mental approach to a game," Coach Doc Rivers said. "And that's what leaders have to do, and that's what he did."
Pierce dropped 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in three quarters of basketball. He, along with the rest of the starters, wasn't needed for the fourth, as the Celtics jumped out to a 23-point lead.
The game was a far cry from Monday night's performance, which, prior to the start, had a few similarities. The Kings, like the Rockets on Monday, were going to be without their best player, Tyreke Evans. But the C's didn't fall into the same trap.
This time, they had a practice under their belt - one in which obviously was needed.
"It's amazing," Rivers said, "yesterday in practice after showing them the film, we practiced hard yesterday. And the cuts were hard. And you could see it. And you were just hoping there would be a carry-over to today and there was."
The carryover was even more apparent in the third quarter. The Celtics turned an eight-point lead into a 17-point lead within three minutes of the third quarter, and never looked back. They shot an astounding 71.4-percent in that quarter.
The bench put in another solid performance, with four members scoring in double figures - Semih Erden (10 points, nine rebounds), Nate Robinson (16 points), Von Wafer (12 points), and Marquis Daniels (12 points).
Daniels, not known for his show of emotion, has picked up his play off the bench as of late. After putting in a season best 19 points and seven rebounds on Monday, he once again put forth a solid effort. He also noted that there's a simple way for the team to maintain a consistent effort.
"Just do things harder," Daniels said. "There is always another notch that you can go too. Just pick it up. We have to pick each other up regardless if it's the starters or second team, everybody has to be tuned in together and play a full 48 minutes."
But once again the opposing team shot an unusually high percentage from the field. The Kings shot 36-for-70, 51.4-percent, on the night. But the reason they lost by so much is simple: Turnovers.
The Kings turned the ball over 23 times, which accounted for 34 of the Celtics' 119 points. Sixteen of those turnovers were steals, with every member of the C's who played, minus Nate Robinson, accounting for at least one. Pierce had four.
The C's did shoot 50-for-96 themselves, a percentage of 52.1. Twelve of those made baskets came courtesy of the three-pointer, a Celtics season high. Robinson and Allen each made four a piece.
Doc Moves Up
Doc Rivers won his 309th game as Head Coach of the Celtics, moving him into third place ahead of K.C. Jones and behind Tom Heinsohn (427) and the immortal Red Auerbach (795).
While it is clearly an impressive feat, Rivers isn't making too much of it yet.
"Yeah, you know, I don't know what that means, honestly," he said. "It's awesome, I guess. I mean, I just don't know what that means, yet, because I'm not thinking about it much, I'm not done. But it's nice."
What a rollercoaster Celtics coaching career it's been for Rivers. He's been here for the worst of seasons, and he's been here for the best. It was only a few years ago that fans were demanding that he be fired. Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find a fan that would want anybody else.
"Listen, it's Danny Ainge at the end of the day," Rivers said. "I'm full-aware of that. We were bad for two years and he stuck with me. And believed in me. And so, at the end of the day it's Danny Ainge more than me."