THE NITTY GRITTY
The short-handed Celtics -- playing without starters Rajon Rondo (rest), Avery Bradley (ankle) and Jared Sullinger (concussion) -- rallied from as much as 16 down to tie the game in the second half, but couldn't snap their Western Conference road losing streak (falling to 0-12 this season). Frustrations eventually bubbled over as both coach Brad Stevens and Gerald Wallace were tossed in the final minute. Jeff Green missed his first nine shots, but bounced back to score 29 points on 7-of-25 shooting (connecting on 13 of 18 free throws). Kris Humphries added 19 points in a gritty spot start (more on that below). Rudy Gay scored 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting with seven rebounds, while Isaiah Thomas finished with 21 points and a career-high 12 assists. The Kings put seven players in double figures overall.
HUMP GOES TO BATTLE
Starting in place of Sullinger, Humphries went to war with DeMarcus Cousins, with tempers often flaring. The pair drew a double technical late in the first half, and the jousting continued after the intermission. Cousins managed to avoid his sixth foul (or second technical) despite some close calls in the final frame. Humphries finished with 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks over 36:26. Cousins, who had 31 points and 16 rebounds last time against Boston, finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Down 11 with 10 minutes to go, Boston scored the game's next 11 points and -- if not for a missed flagrant-foul free throw by Kelly Olynyk -- might have taken its first lead of the game. Instead, the Kings got a free throw from Cousins and consecutive buckets by Gay and managed to prevent Boston from ever rallying ahead. The Celtics were down six with three minutes to go when Brandon Bass missed a pair of free throws and Cousins converted a layup at the other end to essentially put the game out of reach. With the whistles not going their way, Stevens and Wallace lashed out at the referees (and Marc Davis in particular).
Phil Pressey started the game at point guard, but Jerryd Bayless joined the first unit to start the second half. Bayless finished with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting with four assists, two rebounds and two steals. ... The Celtics missed 12 free throws, going 24 of 36 at the "charity" stripe (66.7 percent). The Kings countered by making 24 of 28 attempts (85.7 percent). ... Boston never led in this game. ... Highlight of the night? This probably wins. Isaiah Thomas tossed an alley-oop lob off the backboard and a trailing Derrick Williams threw it down emphatically late in the first half.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (19-38) dropped their fourth straight and fifth in their last six tries. Over the last two days, Boston has slipped beneath both the Lakers and Kings and now owns the fourth-worst record in the NBA. The Celtics close out this four-game road trip by visiting Utah on Monday, then return home to host Atlanta on Wednesday to finish up the month of February.