Boston at Sacramento

Celtics get back on track by holding off Kings wire reports

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Struggling for over a month, the Boston Celtics entered the All-Star break last week understanding their current trend needed to end quickly or their chances for an NBA title were very slim.

Although the Celtics weren't sharp in their first game back Tuesday night, the effort was good enough to hold off the Sacramento Kings in the first of four road games against Western Conference teams. Rasheed Wallace and Paul Pierce each scored 17 points, and the Celtics used a strong defensive effort to beat Sacramento 95-92.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Celtics, who had lost five of eight before the All-Star break. Boston is 10-13 since Christmas and has seen its Atlantic Division lead shrink to 4½ games over second-place Toronto.

"I'm happy, the first win on this road trip was big for us," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I don't know what tone we set, but we got a win and now we have to move to the next game. That is how we are approaching the next 31 games. We're not looking ahead, we're not sending messages. We're just trying to win this game, get better tonight and focus on the next game."

It certainly wasn't a pretty win. Rivers says the Celtics missed 12 relatively easy shots from close range and the Kings blocked 11 shots in effectively sealing off the inside. Boston didn't shoot well from the perimeter either, finishing at 37.5 percent overall, including 5 for 18 in the fourth when it was outscored 23-19.

"We shot the ball poorly," said Ray Allen, who was 5 for 15 overall and hit on only one of six 3-point attempts. "We missed a lot of easy looks, but we didn't hang our heads, we got back and played defense."

Omri Casspi scored 19 points, Tyreke Evans had 17 points, seven assists and tied a career high with 11 rebounds, and Jason Thompson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped 19 of 23 since Dec. 28.

The Kings also shot only 38 percent and missed eight of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, including six straight during one futile stretch. The Kings were 19 of 30 overall.

"I don't know how to measure frustration, but it was obvious we lost the game at the free-throw line, mostly all in the fourth quarter," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "That was the difference."

Allen scored 15 points and Eddie House had 12 for Boston, which made six consecutive free throws in the final 15.4 seconds to seal the victory.

Evans cut the lead to 91-90 on a 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left. Fouled immediately after the basket, Allen made both free throws to put the Celtics ahead 93-90. Casspi followed with two free throws to pull Sacramento within 93-92 with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Two free throws by Pierce put the Celtics' lead back to three, and Casspi missed two free-throw attempts, the second on purpose, to conclude the game.

"We were competitive all through the game with one of the best teams in the league and then lose the game on the free-throw line," said Casspi, a rookie who shot 2 for 6 in the fourth. "It was tough. I even made a free throw I tried to miss."

Injuries to several key players have contributed to a radical departure for a team that opened the season 23-5. Boston is already two losses shy of their total from last season and two over the total from their 2007-08 championship season.

"It was important for us to get this win and get some momentum," said Kevin Garnett, who had nine points and nine rebounds. "It was a team effort tonight. Our bench came in and played unbelievable."

Trailing the entire second half, the Kings took an 85-84 lead when Casspi connected on a 3-pointer with 3:37 remaining.

After a quiet first half, Allen scored seven points in the third quarter when Boston extended its lead to 76-69 heading into the fourth.

Boston's bench played a big role in the opening half, contributing 34 points. Wallace, in a reserve role, scored 10 points and House had nine, helping Boston assume a 57-52 lead. Casspi scored 12 points for the Kings.


  • Francisco Garcia, who broke his forearm in a freak preseason injury, played in his first game of the season, going scoreless in one minute in the second quarter.
  • House made three consecutive 3-pointers, scoring nine consecutive points for Boston in the second quarter when the Celtics led 27-22.
  • The Kings announced Tuesday they would be reducing lower-level season-ticket prices by 6 percent for next season.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Rasheed Wallace provides 17 points off the Celtics bench, including this jam in the first quarter.  (AP)
Rasheed Wallace provides 17 points off the Celtics bench, including this jam in the first quarter. (AP)
Boston (33-18) «3027191995
Sacramento (18-35) 3022172392
BOS:P. Pierce 17 Pts
BOS:K. Garnett 9 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 6 Ast
SAC:O. Casspi 19 Pts
SAC:T. Evans 11 Reb
SAC:T. Evans 7 Ast
Players of the Game

T. Evans

P. Pierce

Related Video

R. Allen, SG335-154-401315
P. Pierce, SF335-155-544517
R. Rondo, PG321-61-27614
K. Garnett, PF314-71-29239
K. Perkins, C242-72-45116
R. Wallace, PF245-96-650417
M. Daniels, SG221-55-66127
G. Davis, PF173-70-08316
E. House, SG164-80-010112
T. Allen, SG90-12-20122
B. Walker, SGDid Not Play
B. Scalabrine, CDid Not Play
J. Giddens, SGDid Not Play
S. Williams, PFDid Not Play
Totals 30-8026-3145192395
T. Evans, PG415-136-10117317
O. Casspi, SF367-132-663119
S. Hawes, C343-102-28359
K. Martin, SG333-105-644311
D. Greene, SF262-82-23248
J. Thompson, PF316-142-4110314
B. Udrih, PG204-80-03219
S. May, PF80-40-01010
J. Brockman, PF51-10-01002
A. Nocioni, SF51-20-00003
F. Garcia, SG10-10-00020
I. Udoka, SG10-00-00000
K. Thomas, PFDid Not Play
S. Rodriguez, PGDid Not Play
H. Armstrong, CDid Not Play
Totals 32-8419-3048212392
Other Games
Miami 105 Final
Phi 78
NJ 103 Final
Char 94
Min 85 Final
Det 108
NY 85 Final
Chi 118
Dal 86 Final
OKC 99
Pho 109 Final
Mem 95
Utah 104 Final
Hou 95
LAC 87 Final
Port 109
GS 94 Final
LAL 104