Mired in a storm of rumors surrounding the future of their head coach, the Sacramento Kings decided to get into a good old fashioned shootout with the Boston Celtics on Super Bowl Sunday. The Kings allowed the Celtics to score 46 in the first quarter and 74 by the half, but they fought back late to make it a game.
In the end, the hole they dug was too deep. Boston came away with a bit 128-119 victory, sending the Kings to their third straight loss and a 21-30 record on the season.
Sacramento left the Celtics shooters open, especially in the first half. Avery Bradley burned them for 17 of his team-high 25 before the break. He hit 6-for-7 from downtown as the Kings once again gave up a big on the perimeter.
Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk took turns torching the Kings’ frontline. Sullinger finished the night with 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Zeller, who isn’t known for his offensive game, added 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Olynyk added 11 points in just 17 minutes of action.
Sensing the game slipping away late, former Kings guard Isaiah Thomas attacked the Kings defense in the fourth. Thomas finished with 22 points and added nine assists in the win.
In his return to the franchise that drafted him, Rajon Rondo picked up his 26th double-double of the season. The veteran point guard scored 14 points, handed out 15 assists and grabbed a season-high six steals in the loss.
DeMarcus Cousins struggled with his shot and turned the ball over five times, but he still managed to score 31 points, grab seven rebounds and hand out six assists. On the defensive side of the ball, Cousins was one of many Kings players to give up a big game to his counterpart.
Willie Cauley-Stein cranked up his offensive game, finishing with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting. He added four rebounds and a block shot, but he struggled with foul trouble for much of the game.
Needing a spark, George Karl turned to Darren Collison and Omri Casspi off the bench. Collison continued his hot streak, dropping in 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Casspi struggled from the outside, but he attacked the rim on his way to 13 points.
Starting for the injured Ben McLemore, Marco Belinlli chipped in 16 points as the Kings lost their third straight.
STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Bradley was tremendous for the Celtics. He set the tone early with his shooting and defensive effort. And when the game started to slip a bit, he added eight in the final quarter.
TURNING POINT -- The Kings cut the Celtics lead late, but this game was over in the first quarter when the Kings gave up 46 points.
INJURY UPDATE -- Rudy Gay (sprained ankle) and Ben McLemore (right wrist sprain) both missed the game due to injury . They are listed as day-to-day.
WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings fly to Cleveland following the game to take on LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the second night of a back-to-back.