Tonight’s Celtics-Kings game was close throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but the Celtics went on a 32-4 run that put the game out of reach. Jayson Tatum scored 30, Jaylen Brown scored 25, and the bench poured in 34, bringing energy that completely flipped the game and gave Boston an 18 point victory.
With the Seattle Mariners reaching the postseason this year, the Kings now have the longest playoff drought among the major US pro sports franchises, but they’re optimistic about ending the streak this season. They’ve built a balanced team around De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis that includes a three-point marksman in Kevin Huerter, a steady veteran presence in Harrison Barnes, a mature-beyond-his-years rookie with Keegan Murray, and a dynamic bench trio of Malik Monk, Davion Mitchell, and Terence Davis. Their seven-game winning streak ended on Tuesday with a loss to Atlanta, and tonight they played the only team that’s had a better offensive season.
#Kings offensive stats:— Bobby Manning (@RealBobManning) November 25, 2022
#2 in offense (116.8) - BOS #1
#5 in AST% (65.2%)
#4 in AST/TOV (1.89) - BOS #2
#2 in eFG% (57.7%) - BOS #1
#5 in pace
#5 in 3PAR (43.6%) - BOS #2
#5 in FTA (25.0)
#7 in fast break pts (15.6)
These are really the two best offenses going at it tonight.
An emphatic fastbreak dunk from Tatum punctuated a dominant 1st quarter for Boston. They collected 10 assists, forced 10 turnovers (not a typo), hit 5 threes, and led 36-22. The Kings opened the game shooting a dreadful 2/12, and one of those misses included this swat from Al Horford:
S.W.A.T. Unit pic.twitter.com/SfvoDLBTvV— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 26, 2022
The Sacramento offense woke up in the 2nd with Monk and Fox leading the charge, and a Sabonis hook shot at the five minute mark cut the deficit to four. Earlier in the quarter, they had this nifty sequence in transition:
this ball movement >>>> pic.twitter.com/HP0jxv9ydf— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 26, 2022
The Celtics maintained a narrow lead for the remainder of the quarter, and after a Fox and-1 jumper tied the game at 62 with 12 seconds left, Tatum found a driving lane and finished the lefty layup on the final posession, and the Celtics led 64-62 at half.
Jaylen (15 points), Tatum (16 points), and Derrick White (14 points and 3 steals) led the way for Boston. Sacramento scored 40 points on 64 percent shooting in the 2nd quarter, and 26 of those points came in the paint. Mitchell scored 10 on 4/4 shooting off the bench while Fox and Sabonis combined for 26.
The Celtics went scoreless on their first six possessions of the 3rd quarter and the Kings took a four point lead. Then Tatum scored seven straight points and Malcolm Brogdon hit a transition three to put Boston up 74-73 at the 6:20 mark.
They lost momentum after Smart got called for a flagrant foul on a Fox three-point attempt and Grant Williams picked up a technical (his fourth of the season). A Huerter layup gave the Kings an 84-78 lead with four minutes remaining. With Brown, Tatum, and Smart all in foul trouble, Joe Mazzulla turned to the “tres leches” lineup of Hauser, Kornet, and Pritchard. The Celtics proceeded to dominate the final three minutes, going on a 16-0 run and leading 94-84 entering the 4th quarter.
Hauser’s three to open the final frame made it a 19-0 run, and a pair of Jaylen Brown midrange jumpers gave the Celtics a 17 point lead. Kornet made a defensive impact with two blocks, Pritchard brought instant offense, and they both posted an insane +26 in their first eight minutes. After Horford’s back-to-back buckets gave Boston a 25 point lead, the Kings waved the white flag at the 4:30 mark and the Celtics won 122-104.
They’ll play the third of their six-game home stand on Sunday at 6:00 against Washington.