Thursday, July 19, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Kings 91, Celtics 82
By Greg Payne
LAS VEGAS -- Rapid Reaction following the Boston Celtics' first loss in the Vegas summer league, 91-82 to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday:
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Jimmer Fredette paced a balanced Sacramento offensive attack that saw five players score in double figures. Fredette scored 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting, while making nine of his 10 free throws. Thomas Robinson came through with a formidable 15-point, 16-rebound double-double for the Kings while Dominique Johnson and Yancy Gates also put up double digits in the scoring column. The Celtics were paced by Dionte Christmas' 19 points, while Jonathan Gibson and Craig Brackins put in 12 apiece off the bench.
CELTICS SHORT-HANDED: The Celtics were without three members of their roster Thursday, as E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Sean Williams all didn't play after reportedly being traded to the Houston Rockets in a deal for Courtney Lee. The absences were noticeable, particularly those of Moore and Johnson -- two mainstays in the rotation. The Celtics, so far a juggernaut on offense this week, struggled to score for much of the evening, with Christmas coming through as the only consistent source of offense. Christmas started alongside Jamar Smith, Kris Joseph, Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger.
CHRISTMAS KEEPS C'S IN IT: Though the score was fairly lopsided when all was said and done, Christmas proved to be one of the few players capable of keeping the Celtics in the game. He scored nine of Boston's 16 third-quarter points, keeping the deficit at single digits for much of the frame. Christmas' need to step up even more than he already has this summer was evident when it became clear Moore and Johnson wouldn't participate.
C'S RALLY LATE: Down double digits for the majority of the fourth quarter, the C's cut it to 9 with just over a minute and a half to play, thanks to a Craig Brackins 3-pointer followed by a Stephane Lasme breakaway dunk. Jamar Smith put in a late 3-pointer from the left corner, but a fast-break dunk from Robinson capped things for Sacramento.
SULLINGER, MELO STRUGGLE: Sullinger and Melo were largely nonfactors Thursday, with Melo contributing no points and three rebounds in just over 13 minutes, while Sullinger grabbed 10 rebounds but mustered only six points, going 2-for-7 from the field. Both seemed to have their hands full with Robinson, who swooped in for rebound after rebound and proved to be a solid force on the defensive end, bothering many of Sullinger's shots around the rim.
BRACKINS MAKES MOST OF MINUTES: Brackins, who played sparingly in the Celtics' first two games in Vegas, played a week-high 21 minutes Thursday, and came through with 12 points and three rebounds. He showcased his soft stroke from the field, but also drove into the lane numerous times, even throwing down a powerful dunk on the right side during the third quarter.