This game was a case of looking ahead. The Celtics were focused on the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night instead of the opponent tonight, the Sacramento Kings. Marcus Thornton and Co. capitalized on this with a big win over the Celtics, 120-95.
The first quarter belonged to the Kings. Sacramento started off with energy and determination, which caught the Celtics by surprise. This was a typical performance for Rajon Rondo in a game where he plays a lesser talent. He played without motivation early on and it cost them. The offense settled for jump shots (what else is new) while the Kings controlled the rebounds (14-5) and points in the paint.
Boston came out with some urgency in the second quarter. The first quarter was plagued by lack of effort and the bench turning the ball over. The second quarter belonged to Rajon Rondo, who was everywhere, unfortunately did not attack the basket much. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen knocked down some shots as the Celtics scored 31 points in the quarter. Allowing 52 points at the half is not their style. This was the main reason they trailed in this game as they continue to lose the rebounding battle.
The Celtics figured out how to attack the rim and be aggressive. This allowed them to get back into this game, which could have turned ugly in a hurry against a younger athletic squad. The Celtics need to win these games if they want to avoid playing the Bulls or Heat in the first round.
Bad news as it appeared I jinx the Celtics because this game got away in from them in a hurry in the third quarter. Sacramento was able to build a large enough lead where mistakes could be made down the stretch without much danger. They scored more than most teams do against the Celtics in only three quarters.
With the lead at half time at only one point , the Sacramento Kings came out and scored a season high, 41 points in the third quarter. Boston battled foul trouble with their big men (Kevin Garnett and Greg Stiemsma) in the second half. The offense isn’t the problem although the spacing and effort on that side of the ball wasn’t there tonight. A lot of standing around instead of setting picks and screens, which allows the offense to keep in motion.
The Celtics tried using a zone defense to slow the Kings down in the third quarter but Sacramento was ready. It was as if they had already known it was coming because they worked the ball inside with ease. Marcus Thornton is making a name for himself with the Celtics as he has scored from all over the court. Trying to slow him down tonight has been a nightmare for Doc Rivers.
I would feel bad to not point out the game that Jason Thompson had. He tried to do his best Kevin Garnett impersonation and it worked. He put up 21 points along with 15 rebounds outdueling all of the Boston big men. Usually when a team scores their season high everyone has monster games.
Doc Rivers emptied the bench with six minutes to go in the game, signaling defeat. Have to tip your hats to Sacramento as they put up big numbers in this game, signifying they wanted this game more. Whatever the reason might be, the Celtics just didn’t have it tonight, possibly looking ahead to tomorrow’s night game in Denver.
Jacob Noble 3/17/2012 12:30:00 AM Tweet Edit