Turnovers prove costly in Sacramento’s loss to Celtics
Mar 21, 2023, 10:28 PM | Updated: Mar 22, 2023, 8:33 am
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Coming into Tuesday’s matchup, the Sacramento Kings were finishing a stretch of play that included five games over seven nights.
The final game of that brutal stretch would come against the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics–a team that entered play as the NBA’s leader in road wins.
While the Kings battled early, Boston locked in during the second half and turned a competitive matchup into a blowout as the Celtics enjoyed a 132-109 win in front of a sold-out crowd at Golden 1 Center.
Sacramento (43-29) lost its second-straight game for the first time since February 3-5th as it failed to move closer towards clinching its first NBA Playoff berth since the 2005-06 season.
With just ten games remaining, the Kings’ magic number remains at four.
Throw it down, Kessler 😤 pic.twitter.com/FMSrSrTMUK
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) March 22, 2023
After falling behind by 20 points during the first quarter of Monday’s game in Salt Lake City, the Kings came out firing against the Celtics as they took a 32-30 lead into the second.
Domantas Sabonis (12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists) and Davion Mitchell (13 points) were active on the offensive end during the first half, but Boston quickly mounted an 11-2 run to the second quarter that put them in front 60-54 after 24 minutes of play.
Although Sacramento shot 49 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range during the first half, turnovers (seven in the half) gave the Celtics opportunities they wouldn’t waste. Boston scored nine points off turnovers during the first half, which would only get worse for the Kings in the third quarter.
Boston jumped out to a double-digit lead during the opening minutes of the second half and never looked back, outscoring Sacramento 72-55 during the final two quarters while shooting 63 percent from the field and nine-of-18 from three-point range.
Between the Celtics’ red-hot shooting and the Kings’ seven turnovers during the second half, Boston gave a tired Sacramento team more than it could handle.
The Kings turned the ball over 14 times on Tuesday, resulting in 21 points off those turnovers, while players like Jayson Tatum (36 points) and Jaylen Brown (27 points) benefited from the mistakes.
Turn us up JB 🗣 pic.twitter.com/d39kX1ggka
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 22, 2023
“They kicked our behinds. Nothing tricky or hidden behind what I’m saying,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said postgame of his team’s effort. “We had 14 turnovers, and they capitalized on almost every turnover.”
Sacramento looked like a different team during the second half compared to how energized they looked in the early going. For a team that was playing on the second night of a back and also going through its fifth game over seven days, it makes sense for fatigue to set in–but that isn’t something that the Kings used as an excuse for this loss.
“We all kinda felt it today. But that’s not an excuse,” Sabonis said postgame of the Kings’ busy week. “That’s part of the schedule. Every team is going through it.”
Sabonis, the Western Conference Player of the Week for two-straight weeks, continued doing all he could for Sacramento as the All-Star posted his 12th triple-double of the season–16 points (seven-of-12 shooting), 13 rebounds, and 12 assists over 37 minutes.
The offense wasn’t an issue for the Kings on Tuesday. As a team, Sacramento finished the night shooting 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep.
De’Aaron Fox (18 points on 6/11 shooting) had a quiet night, but six Kings finished the night in double-figures. The Kings turned the ball over 14 times, resulting in fewer shot opportunities for themselves and more for a red-hot Celtics team. That was the difference.
Even when Boston missed shots, they were able to pull down 11 offensive rebounds, resulting in 17 second-chance points (against Sacramento’s five).
Full head of steam 💨 pic.twitter.com/bOpXx0ip0J
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 22, 2023
By losing Tuesday’s game, the Kings lost consecutive games for the first time since February 3-5th.
As well as Sacramento had been playing out of the break, this team was due to face some adversity. With just 10 games remaining in the season, the Kings maintain a 5.5-game lead over the fifth-seed Los Angeles Clippers as they eye home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
After an eye-opening test against a Finals-contending Celtics team, Sacramento will open up a tough back-to-back on Friday night against Phoenix before facing the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
Kevin Huerter missed his third-straight game due to a right Popliteus strain.
According to Mike Brown, the plan is for Huerter to take advantage of the off-day on Wednesday and then participate in Thursday’s practice before the medical staff makes a determination on the guard’s status for Friday’s game
The Kings get a much-needed off-day tomorrow, then practice on Thursday.
Mike Brown says the team will evaluate how Kevin Huerter (right Popliteus strain) responds to practice before deciding his availability for Friday's game.
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) March 22, 2023
Sacramento will have a chance to all but ensure its first Pacific Division championship since the 2002-03 season if they can beat the Phoenix Suns on Friday night at Golden 1 Center.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Suns coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
Friday, March 24th – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
Saturday, March 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7:00 PM PST
Monday, March 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 7:00 PM PST
Wednesday, March 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers – 7:00 PM PST
Friday, March 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers – 7:00 PM PST
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