Kings vs Celtics Reaction & Takeaways
Note: having two All-Star wings makes you very, very dangerous
The Sacramento Kings might need to file a petition to the NBA stating that they don’t want to face the Boston Celtics anymore.
After suffering a 53-point loss–Sacramento’s worst loss in over 30 years–in Boston back on January 25th, the Kings fell flat once again on Friday night.
Boston’s All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were far too much to handle as a De’Aaron Fox-less Kings team simply didn’t have enough juice to battle back against a Celtics team that has won 18 of their past 22 games.
Although Sacramento didn’t lose by 53 points in this one, they fell by a final of 126-97 at Golden 1 Center–their sixth loss over the past seven games.
Raining Threes Early…But Not Much Else
If it seemed like the Kings weren’t scoring much in the paint during the first quarter, it’s because they weren’t.
Seven of Sacramento’s nine made field goals (77%) during the first quarter came from beyond the arc.
Justin Holiday (three made three-point field goals) and Chimezie Metu (two made three-point field goals) each converted multiple times from beyond the arc during the first quarter.
Following a red-hot start to the game, Sacramento was six-of-27 (22%) from beyond the arc over the final three-quarters of play.
Offense aside, it was the defense (shocker) that did the Kings in, as they allowed the Celtics to shoot 56-percent from the field and 55-percent from the three-point line.
Just another day of Kings basketball and their infamous defense.
Side-note: you aren’t going to win many games where you score only two fast-break points and get outscored 48-28 in the paint.
Must Be Nice
In my opinion, the Sacramento Kings are a scoring wing away from becoming a much better team. You know, a player like Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown would be nice to have on this team. Just one.
Instead of one, the Boston Celtics have both.
Tatum and Brown completely dismantled Sacramento on Friday. Brown scored 16 points in the first quarter alone as the All-Star duo combined for 62 points during the Celtics win.
The Kings had a front-row seat to watch these talented forwards do what they do best, as they got pretty much whatever they wanted as a helpless Sacramento defense could do nothing but watch.
To Start, Or Not To Start
Those in the ‘start Donte DiVincenzo’ camp were thoroughly displeased on Friday night.
Kings head coach Alvin Gentry opted to start Justin Holiday against Boston, bringing DiVincenzo off of the bench once again.
When asked of the decision to bring the former Milwaukee Buck off of the bench, Gentry explained that he prefers being able to play the defensive-minded guard in DiVincenzo beside fellow stopper Davion Mitchell.
Gentry also added that to him, it doesn’t matter who starts games–it matters who finishes them.
“He played 31 minutes the other night,” Gentry said pregame on Friday. “He’s playing starter’s minutes. To me, it isn’t who starts, it’s who finishes.”
With 10 games remaining in the season, we’ll see if DiVincenzo finally gets some consistent looks in the starting lineup, especially with the uncertainty surrounding De’Aaron Fox’s health.
Where Have You Gone, Harrison Barnes?
After scoring just 16 points over the past two games combined, the Kings needed Harrison Barnes to show some serious aggression on Friday night in light of De’Aaron Fox’s absence.
Instead, Barnes finished with just another goose egg: zero points on zero-of-five shooting from the field.
Friday’s game marked the first time in Barnes’ 10-year career that he had played 24 minutes or more and not scored a point, and the first time that the forward has failed to score in a game since November 23, 2014.
It’s tough to exactly pinpoint why the 29-year-old wing isn’t playing the way that we have all grown accustomed to seeing.
Barnes has not been driving to the basket, an aspect of his game that makes him so dangerous. Not only is the veteran not driving the lane–he isn’t shooting the ball much, period.
Taking 18 field goal attempts over a three-game span is inexcusable for a player like Barnes, who is arguably Sacramento’s third option behind Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
Wins for this team aren’t exactly a necessity as the Play-In window has closed, but if Barnes is going to be part of this core next season, games like this simply cannot happen.
Speaking of Justin Holiday, the veteran guard had a strong night from beyond the arc.
Holiday established a new season-high with 21 points on six-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc over 41 minutes.
It was the 32-year-old’s fifth game this season with at least six made three-point field goals.
King of the Night
Domantas Sabonis looked like an All-Star on Friday night.
The two-time All-Star finished the night with 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field to go along with 20 rebounds, five assists, and one block over 37 minutes.
Sabonis became only the second NBA player this season to post a 30+ point, 20+ rebound, 5+ assists stat-line this season, with the other player being two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Sabonis is the first King to score 30+ points, grab 20+ rebounds, and dish 5+ assists in a game since Hall of Fame forward Chris Webber did so back on January 5, 2001.
- De’Aaron Fox (hand) was inactive on Friday. The guard injured his right hand during the second quarter of Wednesday’s game and was in clear discomfort for the remainder of the game. Fox underwent an MRI that revealed no damage. He is considered day-to-day.
- Jeremy Lamb missed his second-straight game due to personal reasons.
- Richaun Holmes will miss the remainder of the season due to personal reasons. More on Holmes here.
- Terence Davis will be re-evaluated in one month after undergoing successful surgery to repair a right wrist ECU tendon injury.
The Kings will finish a tough home-stand against the NBA-best Phoenix Suns during a Sunday matinee at Golden 1 Center.
After facing the Suns, Sacramento will hit the road for a five-game, two-week road trip before returning home on April 3rd to play the first of their final two home games of the season.
Phoenix and Sacramento have split two games this season, with the first meeting ending on a Harrison Barnes buzzer-beater back on October 27th. The most recent meeting on November 8th resulted in a 109-104 Suns win at Golden 1 Center.
You can find all of your Kings vs Suns coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 1:30 pm PST on Game Night before an early 3:00 pm PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
- March 20th vs Phoenix Suns
- March 23rd @ Indiana Pacers
- March 26th @ Orlando Magic
- March 28th @ Miami Heat
- March 30th @ Houston Rockets