Rapid Reaction: Celtics 99, Kings 89
BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Sacramento Kings 99-89 on Friday night at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jared Sullinger posted his fourth consecutive double-double, this one the biggest of the batch as he put up a career-high 31 points (on 14-of-24 shooting) and 16 rebounds over 33:20. Gerald Wallace flirted with a triple-double (8 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) during a spot start, while rookie Kelly Olynyk (11 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) and Jerryd Bayless (19 points, 4 assists) provided a spark off the Boston bench. DeMarcus Cousins matched Sullinger's output (31 points, 16 rebounds) while Isaiah Thomas added 24 points to help pace the Kings.
The Celtics were clinging to a one-point lead 70 seconds into the fourth quarter, but embarked on a 15-0 run to blow the game wide-open. Wallace's driving layup lit the fuse, Bayless hit a couple 3-pointers that helped push the lead to double digits, and a couple Sullinger hoops (including an and-1 layup) had Boston on top 89-73 with 7:04 to go.
The Celtics were playing without starting backcourt Rajon Rondo (soreness) and Avery Bradley (ankle). ... Kris Humphries did not play for the first 20-plus minutes of the first half with a report indicating he was late for the team's shootaround. Joel Anthony took his early minutes. ... The Kings shot 35.6 percent overall (31-of-87), while Boston finished at 45.5 percent (40-of-88).
Thomas and Bayless got into a bit of a dust-up midway through the fourth quarter. Referees tagged them with a double-technical and Cousins (of all people) stepped in to help defuse the situation. ... Later in the fourth quarter, Wallace got tagged with a technical foul (his team-leading third of the season).
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (18-33) have now won three straight, this after winning just three times over their previous 22 games before this unexpected (albeit schedule-aided) streak. Boston takes Saturday off but will have a chance to match its longest winning streak of the season when it hosts the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. The Celtics travel to meet basement-dwelling Milwaukee for the tail end of a back-to-back on Monday, then wrap up the pre-All-Star portion of their schedule by hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. Boston will get a full week off from game action during the midseason break.
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