The Kings no longer play at Sleep Train Arena, but that didn’t keep the Celtics from sleepwalking in Sacramento. Boston’s seven game winning streak came to an end against an inferior opponent, in a game that featured sloppy play and a subpar effort on both ends of the court. And this was against a Kings team that didn’t have DeMarcus Cousins, who was suspended for the game after accumulating his 16th technical foul of the season, which triggers and automatic suspension.
The Celtics finished the night with 18 turnovers and shot just 39.7% from the field. On the other end, the Kings shot 50% and the Sacramento bench outscored Boston 50-32. The Kings scrambled on defense to create the turnovers and moved the ball well on offense to get good looks.
Things started off poorly for the Celtics, as the Kings used a dual point guard lineup of Darren Collison, who led Sacramento with 26 points, and Ty Lawson. The two speedy guards broke down the Boston defense repeatedly and created looks for themselves or their teammates. Lawson was forced to leave the game at halftime with a hamstring injury, but Sacramento didn’t miss a beat. Matt Barnes stepped in and proceeded to play big with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Sacramento also got a solid night from Ben McLemore. He stepped up after Lawson exited and scored 17 points on 7-12 shooting off the bench. The bench was a strength all game for the Kings, as Willie Cauley-Stein added 14 points off the pine.
The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas, who scored 26 points against his former team. Amir Johnson also had a solid night for Boston with 14 points. Unfortunately for the Celtics, no one else really showed up for the game. Jae Crowder had a particularly rough night, with just four points, as he missed all six of his field goal attempts.
Long win streaks generally end in a blowout and this one was no different. The loss dropped the Celtics 3.5 games behind Cleveland at the top of the Eastern Conference. A win by the Wizards also has Washington trailing Boston by just two games for the second seed in the East. The Celtics will look to rebound Thursday evening against the Trail Blazers in Portland.