Talking Points: Kings 120, Celtics 95

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Talking Points: Kings 120, Celtics 95

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Sacramento Kings couldn't miss - or at least it seemed that way.

Their ability to knock down a ton of shots, KO'd the Boston Celtics in surprisingly emphatic fashion, 120-95. The 120 points were the most the C's gave up this season.

DeMarcus Cousins (20 points, seven rebounds). Marcus Thornton (36 points). Isaiah Thomas (13 points, 10 assists).

If he had a Kings jersey on, chances were pretty good that he was making shots.

After a relatively close first half, the Kings blew the game wide open with a 41-point third quarter - the most points any team has scored in any quarter against the Celtics this season.

It was one of the few games this season in which the Celtics defense disappeared for the entire game.

One of the few brightspots for Boston was Ray Allen, who had a game-high 26 points and Rajon Rondo who led all players with 12 assists.

The jumpers that Thornton made for the most part were open or lightly contested.

The baskets around the basket scored by Cousins had little resistance as well.

It was so bad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers took his starters off the floor with more than six minutes to play, as clear a signal as any that this game was a wrap and that he wanted to preserve his core guys for Saturday night's game at Denver.

With the game so out of hand, the worst thing you want if you're Boston is for someone to get hurt. But that's exactly what happened to Paul Pierce, who suffered what team officials described as a mild ankle sprain. He did not return to the game, but considering its lopsided nature, he probably would have been on the bench even if healthy.

Hot shot: Quick, who is the Sacramento Kings' leading scorer? Don't feel bad. Most of the Celtics players didn't know when Doc Rivers asked them earlier. Well they know now, and so should you. It's Marcus Thornton, who torched the C's for a season-high 36 points which is twice his team-high scoring average of 18 points per game. "Because you don't see this team, you would assume (DeMarcus) Cousins because he gets most of the press," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "Cousins played well too, but Thornton was sensational."

In-n-out: Rajon Rondo is not one to put up big shooting numbers on a nightly basis, but he's a better shooter than the 2-for-9 performance he had on Friday night. Rondo, like the rest of the Celtics, never really instilled his will on the game despite finishing with a game-high 12 assists.

Super Sub: Bench play was not a major factor in Friday's game, but the Kings did get some solid production from Travis Outlaw who had 11 points along with four rebounds.

Turning point: When the players returned to the floor to start the third quarter, one team came to play. That would be Boston. The other came to win. That would be Sacramento, which opened the third with a blistering 17-1 run. And the point the C's scored was a free throw by Ray Allen after Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins was whistled for a technical foul.

By the numbers: 41: That would the number of points Boston gave up in the third quarter. It's the most points the C's have rendered in one quarter of play this season.

Quote to note: "Anybody can beat anybody. I think we proved that ourselves." - Celtics coach Doc Rivers, when asked about his son Austin's team, No. 2-seeded Duke, being upset in the NCAA Tournament by 15th-seeded Lehigh.

Pomeranz gets chance to rebound from first shaky Red Sox start

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Pomeranz gets chance to rebound from first shaky Red Sox start

BOSTON -- His first start wasn’t exactly what everyone expected.

Now, Drew Pomeranz has his shot at redemption in more ways than just improving on his last start — which won’t take much.

The lefty makes his second start since joining the Red Sox at the tail end of the All-Star break, following a shaky Minnesota series that John Farrell admitted could have easily gone south.

“We’ve come off a couple of days where we’re a pitch away or a swing of the bat away from being in a spot where we’re possibly looking at four consecutive [wins] in this series,” Farrell said after the Red Sox’ 8-7 victory Sunday. 

And each day was a different issue -- with the exception of a blowout win on Thursday night.

Friday had no offense. Saturday had crazy wind, sketchy fielding and another subpar performance from David Price. And Sunday saw a couple of fly balls land that shouldn’t have -- to go with the bullpen nearly blowing the lead.

In fact, the bullpen had a 6.97 ERA this weekend. In 10 1/3 innings of work, they gave up eight earned runs.

Take out Brad Ziegler’s two shutout innings and they almost averaged one run per inning -- which would be a 9.00 ERA.

So, the fielding has been shaky. The bullpen blew a game where the Red Sox scored nine runs Saturday night and nearly did it again the next day when the Sox scored eight.

Add that on to a second outing where you’re trying to win over a city and region after pitching only three-plus innings, and allowing five runs, in your debut, in which the offense had given you plenty of run support, staking you to an 8-0 lead Wednesday night against the Giants (the Red Sox held on to win, 11-7).

And, you were traded for one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball -- who has become even more valuable in everyone’s eyes since you’re debut.

Last, and probably least, the guy who traded to get you -- and expressed he’s had interest in you since you were drafted -- well, you’re pitching against his old team and the guy who -- although on the decline -- has been the face of the Detroit Tigers franchise for nearly a decade in Justin Verlander.

No pressure though.

Welcome to Boston.

OFFSEASON

Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues

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Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues

By Dan Feldman, NBCSports.com Pro Basketball Talk

Michael Jordan might have never said “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

But that quote has defined him politically.

Whether the perception has been fair or not, he’s clearly trying to change it.

Jordan in ESPN's The Undefeated:

As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

You can read Jordan’s full statement here.