Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Kings run past Celtics

from NBA.com
Peja Stojakovic and the Sacramento Kings played the first quarter as if they were sleepwalking. Then they woke up.

Stojakovic scored just two points in the opening quarter but 25 thereafter as the Kings rallied from a 20-point deficit to easily defeat the Boston Celtics, 119-105, for their 11th victory in 12 games.

Brad Miller added 22 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Webber 18 and 10 as the Kings beat Boston at home for the ninth straight meeting.

Boston, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, held a 38-18 lead after a layup by Marcus Banks opened the scoring in the second quarter.

"It was just a lack of effort," Miller said. "They made easy layups and dunks. They had 24 or 26 fast-break points in the first half, and that's basically how they were scoring. Our guys just weren't getting back."

"You can't just let them run over you," said Kings forward Darius Songaila, who scored 14 points off the bench. "At some point, the guys on the court as well as the guys on the bench just have to say, 'That's enough,' and start playing."

But Stojakovic scored eight points in the period to pull Sacramento within 63-55 at the break, then added 12 points in the third quarter to help the Kings open a 93-80 advantage heading into the final 12 minutes.

"I thought in the first half we moved the ball, we shared the ball, we did a great job playing together as a team," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "In the second half, I thought we each tried to win it by ourselves. The ball never moved."

"Once we started getting back and making play at half-court offense, things changed," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "On the offensive end, everything was one-on-one, everything was a pass and they weren't trying to force the issue. All we had to do was play and not force the offense."

Sacramento, which was outscored on the break, 40-15, led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter.

"We played well (in the first half)," said Celtics guard Gary Payton, who scored eight of his nine points in the first quarter. "Then the third quarter came and we stopped doing the things we do. We didn't share the ball. We didn't do what we did in the first half in the second half.

"(The Kings) started making shots, they started running, they did to us what we did to them in the first half and won the game."

Mike Bibby, who collected 15 points and 10 assists, scored eight straight points during Sacramento's 12-0 run early in the third quarter that turned a 69-65 deficit into a 77-69 lead. His jumper with 7:42 left in the period gave the Kings the lead for good, 71-69.

"We just have to share the ball," Bibby said. "When we play together, we're hard to stop."

Mark Blount scored 18 points and Raef LaFrentz chipped in 15 and 14 rebounds for Boston, which was opening a five-game Western swing. Paul Pierce added 16 points but, guarded mostly by Stojakovic, was blanked in the second half.

"It's the tale of two halves," Pierce said. "We just let our offense affect our defense, and that's how it's been all year."

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