There wasn’t much rhythm to the Sacramento Kings game Saturday against the visiting Boston Celtics. With injured players, frequent whistles, technicals, ejections, and a flagrant, neither team looked particularly strong and the entire game was devoid of any flow. Nonetheless, a home game against a poor Eastern Conference team missing two key players should be chalked up as a win for the Kings, and they took care of business. In a chippy game, Sacramento took a 16-point second quarter lead, and despite a Celtics run to draw even, the Kings walked away with a 105-98 victory.
COUSINS VOLATILE IN RETURN – After missing the Kings post All-Star Break opener with a hip injury, DeMarcus Cousins (34 MIN, 13 PTS, 4-8 FG, 5-8 FT, 7 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 6 TO) returned to the Kings lineup against Boston. His game was understandably rusty, and he appeared to be laboring up and down the court throughout the contest. Perhaps his health played a factor in his frustration, but the Kings big man was emotionally on edge for much of the game. Kris Humphries played tough defense and showed no aversion to getting physical, and this clearly bothered Cousins. DMC was issued a technical as part of a double technical early on, and later he was lucky to avoid a second after violently shoving Humphries’ arm away after another skirmish. It was one of those games where you’re just waiting for him to explode. In the end, Cousins fouled out after a modest night.
GAY TURNS IT ON LATE – Rudy Gay also appeared to be less than healthy. Gay (31 MIN, 22 PTS, 8-18 FG, 2-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 7 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO) could be seen being stretched out by a trainer during one early timeout, and he even left to the locker room for a brief period. Whatever the reason, it could explain his slow start, as Gay missed his first four shots and appeared headed for a repeat of his ugly Golden State performance. Luckily for the Kings, the drought was short-lived and Gay helped carry Sacramento’s offense in the second half. The Kings small forward scored 13 of his 22 points in the final 24 mintues, including a critical run of six straight points in the fourth quarter after Boston had pulled withing one.
EMOTIONS RUN HIGH – Jerryd Bayless and Isaiah Thomas managed to keep things cordial, but the same could not be said for much of the other people on the court Saturday. In addition to the double technical and game-long battle involving Cousins and Humphries, this game saw Carl Landry pick up a flagrant foul for running over Kelly Olynyk on a fast break. Later with the game in hand, Gerald Wallace and Coach Brad Stevens were both ejected from Boston’s side by ref Marc Davis for protesting. In all, 46 fouls and 64 free throws were recorded by the two teams.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Isaiah Thomas (37 MIN, 21 PTS, 6-12 FG, 9-10 FT, 4 REB, 12 AST, 1 BLK, 4 TO) seemed content to play floor general, and he played it very well. Isaiah was a highly efficient scorer and looked to involve his teammates at every opportunity. His off-the-glass pass to Derrick Williams for a monster dunk was the game’s biggest highlight … Behind Isaiah, Ray McCallum (0-1 FG, 1 STL) saw 11 minutes while Jimmer Fredette sat the bench. McCallum didn’t show much offensively but played mistake-free, and his defense against Bayless and Phil Pressey was solid … Reggie Evans was in uniform but did not play. He could be seen offering advice to his teammates and cheering them on, a welcomed sight from the newcomer … The Kings took just nine three-pointers but made five of them.