SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings' teamwork on
offense draws all the attention. Recently, their teamwork on
defense has been even better.
Showing all the cohesiveness Boston lacked, Sacramento methodically built a huge lead with patient passing and steady defense against the Celtics' array of outside shooters. Boston, easily leading the league in 3-point attempts, took 31 3-pointers -- a Kings franchise record for an opponent -- but shot less than 35
Led by Christie and Clark, Sacramento's defense was a big reason
for the Celtics' struggles. The Kings have held four of their last
five opponents under 38 percent shooting, winning all four games.
"I don't know why we don't play like that all the time, because
the end result is beautiful, said Clark, who helped hold Antoine
Walker to 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting. "Everybody had an
assignment, got to his spot and made things difficult for Boston.
If they're missing, we should get some credit for it.''
Vlade Divac had 16 points as the Kings improved to 22-5 at home
with a blowout win over the Celtics, whose most successful West
Coast road trip in 12 years ended with a resounding thud.
Paul Pierce had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, which had
won four of the first five games on the trip. But the Celtics were
put away early by the Kings, whose five starters and reserve Hedo
Turkoglu all scored in double figures.
"You have to keep it close against them, and we didn't do
that,'' Pierce said. "They executed well and shot well. We would
have liked to get this one, but we're pretty happy with this road
Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic scored 12 points apiece for the
Kings, who never trailed. The Pacific Division leaders have won
seven straight over Boston at Arco Arena, and they were never
threatened by the Celtics' inaccurate shooting.
The Celtics made only eight 3-pointers -- just three in the
second half. After a long trip, Boston showed an indelible sign of
a tired team: shots consistently clanging off the front of the rim.
"I thought we had great looks at the basket in the first half
and didn't knock those shots down,'' Boston coach Jim O'Brien said.
"We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, and the game got away
from us when we sagged on defense.''
Sacramento took control with a 21-8 run spanning halftime. The
Kings have won five straight against the Celtics, who hadn't won
four games on a West Coast trip since the 1990-91 season.
The Celtics had little ball movement and poor outside shooting,
and their defense was consistently shredded by the Kings' patient
Sacramento also continued to thrive without big men Chris Webber
and Scot Pollard. Two days after Divac played 39 minutes against
the Bucks, Clark was outstanding while playing most of the minutes
at center against the Celtics' smaller lineup. Divac played just 22
"We felt we really had an advantage down low,'' Sacramento
coach Rick Adelman said. "If we spaced the floor, we thought we'd
have an advantage down there. We've got more size than they do
right now, and that triggered everything else in our offense.''
Webber missed his 10th straight game with a sprained ankle, but
the Kings' leading scorer might be ready to return for Sunday's
home game against the Knicks, depending on his progress the next
Before the game, Boston acquired Mark Blount and Mark Bryant
from Denver for backup point guard Shammond Williams. The Celtics
dressed 10 players, with Tony Delk backing up J.R. Bremer at point
guard as usual.
Boston plays seven of its next nine games at home. ...
During a timeout in the second quarter, Celtics assistant coach
Dick Harter ordered a television sound technician to get a boom
microphone out of Boston's huddle. ... Julian Peterson, the San
Francisco 49ers' Pro Bowl linebacker, attended the game.