Garnett, Celtics snap rare skid with blowout over KingsDec 29, 2008 - 6:23 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics used their stifling defense to ensure a two-game losing streak would not extend to three.
Kevin Garnett scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes Sunday as the Celtics suffocated the Sacramento Kings, 108-63, at Arco Arena.
After losing the first two games on a four-game, West Coast trip - including a fourth-quarter collapse against the Warriors on Friday - the Celtics took control early and never looked back against the Kings, holding them to the fewest points at home since moving to Sacramento.
"I thought our guys came out with amazing focus," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Offensively, we had extra passes and defensively we had pretty much everyone focused. We just stayed solid, we didn't take too many gambles."
The 45-point rout was the biggest home loss for the Kings since moving to Sacramento.
"(The margin) wasn't personal," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. "It's all business. We just came in with that workman attitude. Guys have a lot of pride in here. It's just the way it ended up tonight."
Garnett joined the demolition with six quick points as the Celtics opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run to remove any doubt. With just under eight minutes left in the quarter, Boston had doubled the Kings' output at 72-36.
Garnett completed the assault with a three-point play that made it 80-42 with 4:23 left in the third. The 7-footer made his way to the bench moments after scoring 13 in the quarter to put this one comfortably away.
"Against the Warriors, I felt like we were a little fatigued," said Garnett, who connected on 10-of-11 shots. "I told (Pierce) after that game I could have just stayed at the hotel for the performance (I had). Tonight was big for me, just coming out with a lot of energy, being able to be active, rebound, (and) get the ball in deep."
The final numbers were staggering, with the Celtics holding the Kings to an NBA season-worst 28 percent (19-of-68) shooting and the fewest field goals made in Sacramento's franchise history since 1954-55 when the shot clock era began.
"(Defense) is our staple," Pierce said. "We wanted to get back to that. We set the tone with our starters and the bench came in and did the same thing, kept it going. Whenever you can sit down in the fourth quarter as a starter, you know you're doing something good. It's good to get some rest, especially on a long road trip like this."
No Celtic starter played in the fourth quarter as Boston had run up to a 36-point lead after three.
"I think Doc went back to the roots of what we are, sort of hit the refresh button, if you will," Garnett said. "Our strength is in our numbers. If you want to be the best or want to achieve something, then you come with us. That was pretty much the basis of the talk today."
Only John Salmons, who scored 11 points but made just 2-of-9 shots, hit double figures for the Kings, who have lost six straight.
"Needless to say, that was a lesson well-learned from the NBA champions," Kings interim coach Kenny Natt said. "They came out very hungry after dropping two games and obviously did what they had to do."
Reserve guard Eddie House buried a 3-pointer from the corner, then added a free throw that pushed Boston out to a 41-23 advantage midway through the second quarter.
Pierce converted a 3-pointer, then tacked on two three-point plays to help the Celtics close out a dominating first half with a 59-34 lead. Boston held Sacramento to 26 percent (9-of-35) shooting in the half while the Celtics connected on 55 percent (22-of-40).
SACRAMENTO 63 FINAL
Dec 28 11:29 PM
SACRAMENTO 48 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 28 10:59 PM
SACRAMENTO 34 HALFTIME
Dec 28 10:16 PM
SACRAMENTO 17 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 28 9:37 PM
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