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.