By Morris Phillips
Down 60 to the Celtics, the Kings rallied to lose by 53.
It’s a story lead that NBA sportswriters get one opportunity in a career to utilize. Think about it. When’s the last time you saw one of the league’s 30 franchises completely disappear from the scoreboard?
December 2. Okay, that night, the emerging Memphis Grizzlies eviscerated the COVID-decimated Thunder, 152-79, which ranks as the biggest blowout in the 75-year history of the league.
But the Kings’ ragged outing at TD Garden in which coach Alvin Gentry said “we basically got our ass kicked,” now ranks as the 25th most lopsided margin of defeat in NBA history. That’s undeniably distinctive… in a negative sense.
“They made shots, we couldn’t make nothing,” Richaun Holmes conceded. “They didn’t have much resistance from us so it was just an old-fashioned whooping.”
Jaylen Brown scored 15 of his 30 points for the Celtics in the first quarter, which topped the Kings, who trailed 38-13. The margin grew to 33 at halftime, 42 points after three, and briefly hit 60 in the fourth as the Boston reserves took on the appearance of the Harlem Globetrotters.
The Kings were without De’Aaron Fox and elected not to play center Alex Len, but that left them with their other 13 most significant producers who shot 30 percent from the floor and 18 percent from three. Effort, or lack thereof, played a huge role in the thrashing as the Celtics enjoyed a 67-45 advantage on the glass, and every concession was made to insure the Celtics had access to the best available scoring opportunities. The Kings allowed 56 points in the paint, and 17 offensive rebounds to contribute to that cause.
“We had very little ball movement, very low assists and they were able to force us into some tough shots because we were always on the shot clock,” Gentry said.
Josh Richardson needed far less analysis to explain the Celtics’ abundance of easy baskets, which officially produced just 12 fast break points.
“I mean, first the Kings had a tough shooting night,” Richardson said. “I think that’s part of it.”
Actually a big part.
The win is the Celtics second biggest by point margin in their long, winning history. The Kings have actually had three, worse losses in the Sacramento era. The worst was a 150-91 drubbing by the Run TMC Warriors in 1991. They also lost to the Bucks by 56 in 1985, and by 55 to the Suns in April 1989.
The Kings fell to 18-31 on the season, and they’re as many as three games out of the coveted 10th spot in the Western Conference for the first time this season. They’ve dropped 17 of 24, with a game at Atlanta up next on Wednesday night.