The Boston Celtics (11-9) fell to the Sacramento Kings (10-11) by a final score of 116-111 on Wednesday night at the Golden 1 Center. The game was tightly contested throughout its duration, but a huge fourth quarter from De’Aaron Fox helped propel the Kings over the Celtics.
Boston was without the majority of their guards tonight. Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard were all inactive due to injuries. As a result, the Celtics needed their two stars to step up in a major way. Jayson Tatum finished as the game-high scorer, posting a near triple-double with 27 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds and 2 steals in 39 minutes of action, while Jaylen Brown added 21 points (7-18 FG, 2-6 3PT, 5-6 FT) in 34 minutes of play.
Tristan Thompson recorded a double-double with 17 points (7-9 FG, 3-4 FT) and 10 rebounds in one of his strongest games of the year. The 17 points by Thompson are a season-high for him this year. Daniel Theis also finished in double-digit scoring with 11 points (3-5 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3-4 FT) in 27 minutes of action. Robert Williams III contributed 9 points and 8 rebounds in 19 minutes of play off the bench.
For the Kings, Fox led the team in scoring and assists with 26 points and 11 assists. Buddy Hield also contributed a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Harrison Barnes was effective, adding 24 points and 6 assists in 37 minutes. Tyrese Haliburton continued his strong rookie season with a 21-point effort in 30 minutes of action off the bench.
By the end of the first quarter, the Celtics held a 4-point advantage over the Kings (26-22). Boston led by as many as 9 points in the quarter (24-15), but a 7-2 run by Kings helped close the gap. Boston came out hot to start the second, opening the quarter on an 8-2 run. However, the Celtics started to cool off and the Kings ultimately outscored the Celtics 30-25 in the second quarter to give them a 1-point lead at the half (52-51).
Every time the Celtics tried to pull away, the Kings had an answer. During the third quarter, Boston established their largest lead of the game with 5:30 left in the third (74-63). Sacramento proceeded to go on an 18-8 run to bring them within one point going into the final quarter (82-81). The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair with neither team being able to establish a lead of more than 5 points. There were 3 lead changes and 5 ties in the fourth quarter alone.
Tatum converted on a three-point play with 1:06 left in the game, cutting Sacramento’s advantage to 112-111. Fox answered with a 17-foot step-back making it 114-111. Tatum had a clean look to try and send the game to overtime, but he missed a 3-point shot with 1.5 seconds. Tatum and Fox both put up 13 points in the fourth quarter, but it was the Kings that ultimately came away with the 116-111 victory. The Celtics just weren’t able to pull it out late.
The Celtics return to action Friday night when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers. It will be Boston’s third game in a five-game road trip. Boston will look to bounce back after a disappointing loss.