BOSTON (AP) -- Boston Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said he doesn't
care about starting lineups, because what really matters is who's
on the floor when the game is on the line.
Maybe he ought to care about it a little more.
The Celtics recovered from a horrendous start to beat Sacramento
on Sunday night, erasing a 15-2 deficit by the end of the first
quarter and winning 91-82 to snap a three-game losing streak.
"We got off to a bad start, and we kept on fighting until we
got it right," O'Brien said after Boston beat the Kings for the
first time in seven tries. "The guys that we started did not get
the job done at the beginning of the game."
Vin Baker had 18 points, Paul Pierce scored 17 and Raef LaFrentz
had nine points and nine rebounds. Baker also had 13 rebounds -- his
most since joining the Celtics last summer with high expectations
before ending the season in a rehab center for alcohol abuse.
"He looks like he's back, and that's great," Kings guard Doug Christie said. "I know he's gone through a lot and worked very
hard. But it looks like it paid off for him and I'm very happy for
Williams, who missed the previous three games -- all losses --
with a hyperextended knee, finished with 12 points and six rebounds
while playing tough defense that the Celtics said sparked them to
"You could see the difference he made with his presence and his
hustle," Baker said.
"People don't realize how big he is to this team," Pierce
Brad Miller had a career-high 16 rebounds to go with his 19
points, and Mike Bibby added 14 points and 11 assists. Miller
scored three of the game's first four baskets as the Kings opened a
10-0 lead, and he had 12 points by the time the Kings led 23-11
with 3:40 left in the first.
"Their defense picked up its intensity and we were stopped,"
Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We were bad, offensively. The
first six minutes we had the ball moving and hopping, and then we
Sacramento led 23-15 when Williams checked in. And that's when
things really started to turn around for Boston.
"I just want to go out there and give the team energy," he
said. "Our team looked sluggish. I told the second unit, `We know
what we're lacking, not let's go out there with a lot of energy and
play hard and that's pretty much what turned the game around."
The Celtics took a 26-25 lead on Mike James' 3-pointer at the
end of the first. In the third, LaFrentz gave Boston the lead on a
layup with 2:07 to play, then Marcus Banks hit a 3-pointer and a
running jumper in the final 35 seconds of the quarter to make it
73-69 for Boston.
Christie went for a loose ball and landed on a little girl
sitting courtside. He stayed behind during the play to pick her up
and try to make her feel better. She remained at the game. ...
Chris Webber missed his sixth game while recovering from left knee
surgery. ... Baker made a layup for Boston's first score -- 2:51 in.