Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Elise Amendola Associated Press The Celtics' Avery Bradley, left, comes up with a loose ball in front of the Kings' DeMarcus Cousins on Wednesday night.

Kings collapse in second quarter, fall to Celtics

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 - 5:57 pm

BOSTON – One day the Kings will learn. Or at least it seems they would.

Or perhaps it will take more of what happened in the second quarter Wednesday night at TD Garden to drill home the message.

The Kings became a one-on-one team again. The Boston Celtics, playing without injured All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, played team basketball.

The result was a 99-81 loss to the Celtics.

"We played a selfish basketball game," guard Isaiah Thomas said. "We didn't do the little things. We didn't take away what they do well; we didn't get stops on defense. We turned it over a little too much, and we weren't in the right spots on the offensive end."

The second quarter was a collection of all the Kings could do wrong.

Sacramento shot 5 for 18 and allowed 13 points off seven turnovers. Boston made its first 14 shots of the quarter and shot 16 for 20.

The Kings led 24-22 after the first quarter but were outscored 37-14 in the second.

Kings coach Keith Smart said he couldn't point to anything the Celtics did to rattle his team.

"I wish I could say it was something Boston did," Smart said.

The second quarter got away from the Kings quickly.

Smart played his starters the entire first quarter to prevent an early 8-0 deficit from becoming a rout.

By the time Smart went back to some of his starters with 6:25 to play in the second quarter, Boston led 41-31.

Smart said the Kings (17-30) were caught dribbling too much, a recurring problem when they struggle.

Before Monday's win at Washington, the Kings had lost four in a row largely because of turnovers and poor decision making and shot selection.

And after rallying in the first quarter, the Kings went back to their bad habits. They had one turnover in the first quarter but ended up giving up 27 points off 19 turnovers.

"I feel like we made changes that we really didn't need," center DeMarcus Cousins said. "That kind of affected the flow of the game. Sometimes if you're playing one way, you've just got to let it ride. We have a tendency to do that. Sometimes you have to stick with the original game plan and let it play through."

The Kings find that difficult to do. They had a size advantage against the Celtics (22-23). But Boston outscored them 44-38 in the paint.

Meanwhile, the Kings seem stuck on selfish.

"I think everyone's trying to score," said guard Tyreke Evans, who led the Kings with 19 points and matched his career high with 11 rebounds. "When we run plays, run our sets, we're at our best. When we play defense and we're out running the floor, that's when we're at our best."

The Kings often point to their assists to assess if they are playing a solid, team game. They had only 13 compared with the Celtics' 22.

Sacramento shot 39.2 percent and had three players score in double figures. Boston shot 53.4 percent and had six players with more than 10 points.

In the first half, the Celtics shot 62.5 percent, the best by a Kings opponent in a half this season.

"I don't understand," Thomas said. "I feel like if you want to win, you'll play the right way, the way that got you a win less than 48 hours ago. We've just got to do the best we possibly can to play the right way."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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