The Boston Celtics are now two for two on their western road trip, thanks to a 126-97 thrashing of the Sacramento Kings. Jayson Tatum led the way with 32 points on 12-16 shooting (7-10 threes), registering a +40 in 34 minutes. Jaylen Brown was just as good: 30 points on 11-18 (3-5 threes). Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard added 8 assists each.
The Celtics improved their record to 43-28 and with Chicago losing at Phoenix, the Cs have a 1.5 game lead on the Bulls for fourth place.
Domantas Sabonis led the Kings with 30 points, 20 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Celtics last faced the Kings in January, in the early stages of Boston’s turnaround, and it wasn’t pretty for Sacramento. The Cs obliterated them by 53 points, the second biggest margin in franchise history. Since then, the Kings traded Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton and brought in Sabonis and Donte DiVincenzo — but they’re still on their way to the draft lottery for the 16th straight year.
Tonight the Kings were without De’Aaron Fox (hand) and Richaun Holmes (personal reasons). Only Aaron Nesmith (ankle) remained sidelined for Boston.
The Celtics started quickly, leading 11-0 behind five points from Jaylen (on his way to 16 in the quarter) and sneakaway dunks off steals by both Tatum and Horford. The Kings regrouped by draining their first four three-point attempts, with a 15-4 run tying it at 18. Momentum then swung back to Boston, with Smart and Tatum hitting from the arc. The Celtics led at the buzzer, 32-26, despite the Kings making a startling 7 of 9 triples.
Tatum opened the second quarter by drilling his first three attempts from the arc. When Daniel Theis dunked an alley oop feed from Derrick White, the Cs were back in control at 43-28.
The advantage grew to 59-38 as both teams were scorching the nets from downtown. In the quarter, Tatum was 5-5 from deep and scored 17.
The halftime score was Celtics 67, Kings 48, as Tatum and Brown combined for 42 points on 17-23 shooting. Boston had 19 assists on 27 baskets. Sabonis led the Kings with 17 points, and Justin Holiday chipped in 12.
Both teams remained white-hot in the third, but a 12-3 run boosted the Boston lead to 82-59. This was the capper.
PUNCH IT HOME ROB pic.twitter.com/6LrFRa4av7— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 19, 2022
At this juncture, the refs made their presence felt. The Kings scored 14 straight with the help of three sketchy calls, and Ime Udoka was tagged with a technical for complaining about it. Also, the Cs missed 11 straight shots as some fouls on their end seemed to be ignored. Sabonis and Grant Williams also got T’d up in the quarter as Scal wondered on TV, “What is going on out there?”
The free throws for the quarter were Kings 9-11, Celtics 3-5. Trey Lyles led Sacramento with 12 points in the period. Still, the Celtics led 92-79 heading to the fourth.
Pritchard (14 points on 5-5 shooting) restored order by drilling his first three shots in the quarter — all from deep — to push the lead back up to 20. The Celtics cruised home from there. Even the ice-cold Derrick White swished a three.
For more postgame coverage of the Celtics second straight road win, tune into the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A. Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss the 2-0 start to the road trip.