Without Jared Sullinger (mild concussion), Rajon Rondo (rest) and Avery Bradley, the Celtics started Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green, Kris Humphries and Phil Pressey. Jeff showed up in spurts, and though he was the top scorer of the game, Humphries was really the player of the game on the Celtic side.
Here's a quarter-by-quarter recap.
Jeff Geen had Ben McLemore on him, a mismatch in size, but his first 8 shots failed to turn into points. In fact, McLemore was the one to score 7 points in the quarter for the Kings.
6 Minutes into the quarter, the Kings spent a time-out after going up 6-14 on 66% shooting, seemingly to let the Celtics gather themselves a bit. It didn't quite work out in the Celtic's favor though, as two minutes later the score was 12-19 and the Celtics took a time-out themselves. One can only assume this was an attempt to address their leaky defense or poor shooting percentage, 26% in the first quarter.
It didn't seem to matter much, as Isaiah Thomas kept carving up the Celtics defense, notching 8 points and 5 assists in this first quarter.
Quarter end: 16-23 Kings.
The team in green seemed aggressive, driving inside instead of taking the fade-aways they took in the first. Unfortunately, their defense was still slightly too haphazzard to take advantage of this change in offensive aggression. This aggression paid off because they got to go to the foul line a bit, as they still didn't manage to convert many of their shots or cut down on the turnovers.
At this point, the only thing keeping the C's in the game were their second-chance points, scoring 12 of them.
The Kings seemed to out-work the Celtics for most of the quarter, running faster offensive plays and fighting harder for loose balls.
Jeff Green didn't manage a field goal until 2 minutes before half-time, going 0-10 from the field before that. And then he flipped the switch. Three quick buckets and some free-throws made him the Celtics top-scorer at half-time with 10 points hitting 3 out of 13 shots.
As a side note, Rudy gay remained scoreless through the first quarter, but made up for it by scoring 9 and grabbing 5 rebounds in the second.
Kings lead at the half, 43-51.
Humphries had a good start to the quarter, scoring 4 points early, as the Celtics managed some point in the paint, coming back to within 3 at 50-53.
DeMarcus Cousins had a lot of fun talking to the refs early, even though he had already been T'd up in an earlier double Tech on him and Humphries. Further damage was averted as he was pulled out with 8 minutes remaining in the quarter, after picking up his fourth foul.
The shooting percentage for the Celtics picked up a little bit, helping us not fall behind too much regardless of continuing defensive struggles.
Jeff Green had a rough start to the half, 0-3 from the field and 1-4 from the charity stripe, but recovered after a time-out. This helped the Celtics once again stay in the game, trailing by as little as 3 points.
At this point, Isiah Thomas put the Kings on his back by driving and either scoring or dishing. Most of his drives ended in un-contested layups as the team in green parted like the red sea.
End of quarter, 70-77 Kings.
Again, the Celtics got behind by fumbling the ball on offense, then got back into it with some good shooting. Humphries played a key part in this. He got under DeMarcus' skin to the point where DeMarcus should've been tossed out of the game when he shoved Hump after a whistle.
The game got especially physical when Olynyk got hammered by Carl Landry as the Klynyc was about to go up for two. A flagrant was called and Kelly tied the game at 85, Celtics ball.
Foul trouble made the rest of the game a bit tougher to watch, as the Kings were guaranteed trips to the line about halfway through the quarter.
Unfortunately, deep threes and shoddy offensive sets didn't work in our favor, and the Kings managed to build a lead mainly off of free-throws in a chippy fourth quarter.
... and with 35 seconds left, Gerald Wallace and coach Brad Stevens both got tossed for complaining to the refs.
- Lot's of technical fouls, and even the Kings announcers disagreed with a bunch of calls made by the refs (both ways) ... and that's all we'll say about that today.
- You're not going to win if you keep shooting crummy shots (38% from the field), while letting your opponent hit 53% of their field-goal attempts.
- Isaiah Thomas, 21 points, 12 assists, messed us up again.
- Humphries really deserves some praise. He very clearly got into DeMarcus' head with some tough defense, and scored 19 points on 9-15 shooting, while grabbing a game-high 8 rebounds.
- DeMarcus Cousins was kept down to 13 points and 7 rebounds, which is not bad.
- Jeff Green hit just 7 of his 25 attempts, and just 13 of 18 freebies. He had 29 points and a plus-minus of -12.
- Pressey did not impress. 2 assists and 2 points.
- Rondo's free-throw shooting seems to be rubbing off on the team, as they hit only 66%, 24 out of 36.
Overall, It was a hard fought loss, one of many so far.