Celts snap short losing skid, beat Kings, 119-95


Celts snap short losing skid, beat Kings, 119-95

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON The Boston Celtics have established themselves as one of the NBA's best teams, while the Sacramento Kings have distinguished themselves as one of the league's worst.

Both played their respective roles on Wednesday as the C's had no problems defeating the Kings, 119-95.

With the win, the Celtics (29-9) snapped a two-game losing skid and, in the process, delivered yet another loss to a Sacramento team (8-28) that is officially one of the weakest in franchise history.

Boston had eight players in double figures, led by Paul Pierce's 25 points in about 27 minutes of playing time.

After a relatively close first half, the Celtics opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run and never looked back.

Boston's strong performance was fueled by Pierce's ability to make the most of his matchup with Sacramento's Franciso Garcia.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers attributes Pierce's strong play, as well as the solid performance by the entire Celtics roster, to a spirited practice on Tuesday.

"Tuesday in practice after showing them the film, we practiced hard," Rivers said. "And the cuts were hard. And you could see it. And you were just hoping there would be a carryover today and there was."

The Celtics were controlling the game at both ends of the floor.

Offensively, they were getting pretty much any shot they wanted.

And defensively, when they weren't forcing turnovers (23) and getting easy points (34) from Sacramento's miscues, the Celtics were contesting shots that were frequently rebounded by the C's.

It was a thorough thrashing, something the Kings have experienced quite often this season.

"That was a great team we played and, they took care of us," said Kings coach and former Celtic Paul Westphal.

Sacramento rookie DeMarcus Cousins, who had eight points and six rebounds, was also impressed with the Celtics.

"We played against a great team; not just a good team but a great team," Cousins said. "They just played unbelievable."

Pierce may have been the one setting the tone, but by no means was he the only Boston player giving the Kings problems.

Ray Allen, who suffered a bruised shoulder in Monday's loss to Houston, shrugged off the injury and delivered yet another impressive performance.

He scored 14 points, including a 4-for-5 shooting performance from 3-point range that brings him even closer to surpassing Reggie Miller (2,560 career 3-pointers) for the NBA's all-time lead in 3-pointers made.

Allen now has 2,526 3-pointers.

Boston also got a strong game from the bench, which included Semih Erden's near double-double of 10 points and 9 rebounds.

As for the Kings, this was yet another night when the reality that Westphal's coaching one of the league's worst teams was once again proven in emphatic fashion.

Making the challenge of winning even tougher for the Kings has been having to play without their top scorer, Tyreke Evans. Evans missed his third straight game because of a sprained left ankle.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”