Feb 7, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics power forward Brandon Bass (30) dunks the ball as Sacramento Kings power forward Jason Thompson (34) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Lethargic Kings spanked by Celtics in trip opener

Even with Rudy Gay out due to illness, the Sacramento Kings should have been able to beat a depleted Boston Celtics squad playing without Rajon Rondo. But on the road, predicting which Kings team will show up is a tough proposition. The Sacramento team that played in Boston on Friday was one that fans have not seen in a while — low on energy and offensively challenged. The Celtics played even with the slow Kings for one half, but in the second half, it got ugly for Sacramento. Execution on both ends was brutal, and Jared Sullinger’s big night helped Boston to an easy 99-89 victory.

THINGS DISINTEGRATE IN 4TH QUARTER – It looked like even with the uninspired play, the Kings might be able to squeak out a win against a poor opponent. That was until the fourth quarter hit, and everything went down the drain. The Kings trailed by one with 10:50 left before the Celtics reeled off a 15-0 run against the hapless Sacramento bench. The Kings were a mess defensively. There were lapses across the floor, allowing the Celtics wide open three-pointers as well as uncontested looks at the rim. The Kings couldn’t stop the avalanche, instead feeding into it with terrible offensive execution — sloppy ball handling and poor shooting. It was yet another ugly chapter in a Kings season full of disappointing final quarters.

KINGS OFFENSE SPUTTERS – Rudy Gay’s absence (and maybe Marcus Thornton’s, too) was felt hardest on offense. Kings fans got a sad reminder of how things ran before Gay’s arrival. Missing was that one player who could be counted on to create his own shot and produce. A collection of Kings players tried their hands at providing a perimeter lift and all failed miserably. Derrick Williams, Travis Outlaw and Ben McLemore combined to go 7-for-29 from the floor. With his running mates shooting poorly, Isaiah Thomas (39 MIN, 24 PTS, 9-23 FG, 3-7 3FG, 6 AST, 2 TO) was forced to shoulder too much of the load, and his efficiency dropped. DeMarcus Cousins (40 MIN, 31 PTS, 11-19 FG, 9-11 FT, 16 REB, 3 AST, 4 TO) was a pillar for the Kings down low, but things even seemed tougher for him in the second half. For the game, the Kings shot a porous 35.6 percent.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Jason Thompson (36 MIN, 6 PTS, 2-9 FG, 6 REB) played one of his uglier games in recent weeks. JT couldn’t get anything to fall from inside and was outworked on the boards … The Celtics reserves outscored the Kings bench, 37-10 … Jimmer Fredette (8 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-2 FG, 1 AST, 1 TO) had nothing going offensively and frequently ended up dribbling around with no purpose. His -17 plus/minus rating in limited play was a telling stat … When given minutes, Derrick Williams (42 MIN, 11 PTS, 2-11 FG, 7-7 FT, 12 REB, 3 AST) has proven to be a great rebounder, but if he’s not getting to the basket, his productivity lessens. He shot a lot of jumpers in Boston with little success … The Kings made 22-of-24 from the free throw line (91.7 percent) … Things took an interesting turn when Isaiah and Jerryd Bayless got into an altercation late in the game. Isaiah was whistled for a foul on a Bayless jumper and proceeded to stand over the Celtics guard for an extra second. Bayless, who had taunted Ben McLemore earlier in the quarter, took offense and shoved Isaiah from the ground. Thomas had to be restrained by Cousins and officials, as he looked like he was ready to go. About the only show of passion on the night for Sacramento.

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