Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/9

Game 1: Sunday, November 9th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 17th

Kings 82

(3-3, 1-3 away)

Celtics 91

(3-3, 2-1 home)

    Coverage: KXTV

    6:00 PM ET, November 9, 2003

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SAC 25 20 24 1382
    BOS 26 13 34 1891

    Top Performers

    Sacramento: B. Miller 19 Pts, 16 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Boston: V. Baker 18 Pts, 13 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk

    Baker scores 18 with 13 boards

    BOSTON (AP) -- Boston Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said he doesn't care about starting lineups, because what really matters is who's on the floor when the game is on the line.

    Maybe he ought to care about it a little more.

    The Celtics recovered from a horrendous start to beat Sacramento on Sunday night, erasing a 15-2 deficit by the end of the first quarter and winning 91-82 to snap a three-game losing streak.

    "We got off to a bad start, and we kept on fighting until we got it right," O'Brien said after Boston beat the Kings for the first time in seven tries. "The guys that we started did not get the job done at the beginning of the game."

    Vin Baker had 18 points, Paul Pierce scored 17 and Raef LaFrentz had nine points and nine rebounds. Baker also had 13 rebounds -- his most since joining the Celtics last summer with high expectations before ending the season in a rehab center for alcohol abuse.

    "He looks like he's back, and that's great," Kings guard Doug Christie said. "I know he's gone through a lot and worked very hard. But it looks like it paid off for him and I'm very happy for him."

    After the Kings made nine of their first 12 shots, O'Brien subbed Mark Blount for Tony Battie and later brought in Jiri Welsch for Kedrick Brown, LaFrentz for Baker and Eric Williams for Pierce.

    Williams, who missed the previous three games -- all losses -- with a hyperextended knee, finished with 12 points and six rebounds while playing tough defense that the Celtics said sparked them to victory.

    "You could see the difference he made with his presence and his hustle," Baker said.

    "People don't realize how big he is to this team," Pierce said.

    Brad Miller had a career-high 16 rebounds to go with his 19 points, and Mike Bibby added 14 points and 11 assists. Miller scored three of the game's first four baskets as the Kings opened a 10-0 lead, and he had 12 points by the time the Kings led 23-11 with 3:40 left in the first.

    "Their defense picked up its intensity and we were stopped," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We were bad, offensively. The first six minutes we had the ball moving and hopping, and then we just stopped."

    Sacramento led 23-15 when Williams checked in. And that's when things really started to turn around for Boston.

    "I just want to go out there and give the team energy," he said. "Our team looked sluggish. I told the second unit, `We know what we're lacking, not let's go out there with a lot of energy and play hard and that's pretty much what turned the game around."

    The Celtics took a 26-25 lead on Mike James' 3-pointer at the end of the first. In the third, LaFrentz gave Boston the lead on a layup with 2:07 to play, then Marcus Banks hit a 3-pointer and a running jumper in the final 35 seconds of the quarter to make it 73-69 for Boston.

    Game notes

    Christie went for a loose ball and landed on a little girl sitting courtside. He stayed behind during the play to pick her up and try to make her feel better. She remained at the game. ... Chris Webber missed his sixth game while recovering from left knee surgery. ... Baker made a layup for Boston's first score -- 2:51 in.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 91
    FGM-FGA 32-90 (.356) 36-83 (.434)
    3PM-3PA 6-19 (.316) 4-15 (.267)
    FTM-FTA 12-19 (.632) 15-20 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-42 15-52
    Assists 26 17
    Turnovers 13 17
    Steals 7 9
    Blocks 3 6
    Fast Break Points 5 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Brad Miller Miller
    Points: 19
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Vin Baker Baker
    Points: 18
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2