The Celtics defeated the Kings 128-119 on Sunday on a day where defense was non-existent for both teams. The Celtics got off to a sizzling start against the worst defense in the NBA, and continued to pour it on the rest of the way. The Kings made a run in the fourth quarter, but Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas ended any ideas the Kings may have had about a comeback with clutch buckets down the stretch.
The first quarter was insane, with a combined 83 points scored between the two teams. The Kings defense leaves a lot to be desired, but the Celtics still deserve credit for putting the ball in the hoop. They had 46 points in the first quarter, more than any other team has scored in the first quarter so far this year in the NBA. Unfortunately, their defense was almost as bad as their offense was good, as they gave up 37 points to the Kings through the first 12 minutes.
The second quarter was more of the same with the Celtics getting anything they wanted on the offensive end. Jared Sullinger had a great first half, putting up 17 points on 8-9 shooting against one of the best big men in the game in DeMarcus Cousins. Bradley was on fire as well, with 17 at the half, only missing one of his five three point attempts. Old friend Rajon Rondo had 8 points, 7 assists, and 5 steals at the half. The Celtics shot 57% from the field and 52% on threes on their way to a 74-point half.
The Celtics seemed content with the big lead they built and started getting jumper happy and not playing with much intensity at all on the defensive end in the 3rd quarter. The Kings brought the lead down to six with under a minute to go in the quarter before Tyler Zeller hit a couple jumpers, and the Celtics went into the fourth quarter with an eight point lead at 95-87.
The Kings got to as close as five in the fourth quarter, but this game never felt in doubt. The Celtics played down the stretch as if the game was already over with several lackadaisical plays, but Bradley and Thomas had a couple big buckets to seal the deal. As Sullinger said in his postgame interview, the Celtics have to work on closing out games better, but it's hard to be disappointed as the Celtics have now won nine of their last ten games and find themselves alone in third place in the Eastern Conference.
-The Tyler Zeller from last year has returned. When he played in short spurts earlier in the year, he was missing a lot of the touch shots he made consistently last year. Since he has started playing more consistent minutes, his play in turn has been more consistent. He has had at least 16 points in three out of the last four games. The only game the Celtics have lost in the last ten games was against the Magic on January 31st, and that is the only game of the last ten that Zeller has not played.
-The Kings defense is just not very good. We knew this already after they gave up 128 points to the Nets the other night, but it was confirmed again today.
-The Celtics defense was not very good on Sunday afternoon either, but luckily the offense came to play.
-Sullinger is so effective around the basket. You almost wish he couldn't shoot so he wouldn't play outside so often. He can hit that shot, but he is just so much more effective creating space and finishing with his soft touch in the paint.
-Amir Johnson was solid as always, putting in great effort on the offensive boards.
-Boogie Cousins was pouty and not always fully engaged (especially on the defensive end), but he still managed to put up huge numbers, with 31 points, hitting three out of his six three point attempts.
-Rondo ended with a very Rondo stat line, with 14 points, 15 assists, 5 rebounds and 6 steals.