SACRAMENTO KINGS

Celtics catch fire from deep in blowout win over Kings

Dec 20, 2023, 9:41 PM | Updated: 10:04 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 14: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles against the ...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Even without Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics look like a team poised for a deep postseason run this spring.

Tatum (left ankle sprain) and veteran big man Al Horford (rest) were inactive as the Celtics played the second night of a back-to-back, but it wouldn’t matter on Wednesday night as Boston handed the Sacramento Kings a 144-119 loss at Golden 1 Center.

Birthday boy De’Aaron Fox did all he could to make things interesting, but the Celtics’ league-leading three-point shooting offense was on full display as Boston finished the night a season-best 22-of-42 (52%) from beyond the arc.

Five Celtics finished the night with 20+ points (tied for the most in NBA history), including Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzinigs, who scored 28 points apiece while Porzingis acted as a force in the paint (six blocks).

With the loss, Sacramento (16-10) saw its three-game winning streak end as the ‘Beam Team’ dropped its first game at home since December 4th.

Kings vs. Celtics Takeaways

Happy Birthday, Fox

It didn’t take long for De’Aaron Fox to assert himself in this one.

The All-Star guard had a quick start to his 26th birthday, as Fox caught fire in the first quarter by drilling five of his seven attempts from three-point range. Fox finished the first with 17 points and three steals over just nine minutes.

Fox tied his career-high with his sixth triple before the eight-minute mark of the second quarter en route to scoring 26 points–a new career-high for points scored in a first half–on nine-of-14 from the field and six-of-eight from deep during 19 first-half minutes.

While Fox was dialed in on both ends of the floor, the Celtics took a 74-66 lead into the break thanks to their own red-hot start on offense.

Boston’s top-five defense did an incredible job of taking Fox out of the game during the second half, as well as the rest of Sacramento’s offense.

Fox was held to just three points during the second half, as the Celtics held the star guard and the rest of the Kings’ offense to 53 points during the second half.

Once Fox slowed down, the rest of Sacramento’s offense could not keep pace with a Boston team that outscored the Kings 39-24 while shooting just under 60 percent from the field during the third quarter.

Over just 26 minutes of action, Fox finished the night with 29 points–the lone King with 13+ points–on nine-of-16 shooting from the floor, six-of-eight from deep, and three steals.

Attack From Beyond The Arc

It’s no secret that the Boston Celtics like to shoot the three-ball.

If Sacramento wanted to pull out a win on Wednesday, they would have to slow a Celtics offense that entered play as the NBA leader in made three-point field goals and three-point field goal attempts.

If the Kings game-planned taking Boston out of its comfort zone from beyond the arc, that plan went out the window quickly.

Derrick White (five-of-six), Payton Pritchard (four-of-seven), and Kristaps Porzingis (two-of-three) all drilled multiple triples during the first half as the Celtics took a 74-66 lead into the break. Boston went 14-of-24 (58%) from deep during the first half, which spelled trouble for Sacramento.

The Celtics entered play holding an 18-0 record when shooting 33 percent or better from three-point land, meaning that the Kings would have to slow Boston’s roll–or match the output on their own end–if they wanted to erase the deficit.

As we all saw, that didn’t happen–and it wasn’t close.

Sacramento struggled on the defensive end, especially when it came to recovering off of switches.

Boston continued to take advantage of mismatches, with the seven-footer Porzingis often ending up attacking undersized players like Kevin Huerter.

The Kings had no answer for the Celtics. In the paint, they were outscored 48-40. From three, Boston knocked down a season-high 22 triples. On the break, Sacramento was outscored 30-6. Even at the free-throw line, the Celtics (20-of-24) waxed the Kings (12-of-23).

The 25-point loss to Boston marked the fifth time this season that Sacramento has lost by 18+ points, meaning that the Kings either win or lose–and lose big.

That trend can’t continue as we advance into the thick of the regular season. Not against teams in the Western Conference like New Orleans and the Los Angeles Clippers, not even against a true contender like Boston. This can’t happen if Sacramento wants to be taken seriously.

Injury Report

Alex Len (right high ankle sprain) continues to work his way back to action and has been seen getting work in on the sides of practices with the Kings training staff. There is no timetable for Len’s return to play.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will continue its six-game homestand on Friday when they play the first night of a back-to-back against Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns.

The Kings will face the Suns on Friday before completing the homestand on Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Suns coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from Golden 1 Center.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, December 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 23rd – Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 26th – Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers – @ 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, December 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Atlanta Hawks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, December 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST

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