SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Forward Rudy Gay saved his best for the final quarter for the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. He received just enough assistance from center DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas to help the Kings win for the first time since the All-Star break.
Gay’s driving layup capped a 22-point night, and Thomas’ two free throws down the stretch put the Celtics away as Sacramento downed Boston 105-98 at Sleep Train Arena on Saturday.
Thomas, the Kings’ point guard, finished with 17 points and tied a career-best with 12 assists for Sacramento, which won four of its past five at home against Eastern Conference opponents. Cousins, returning to center after missing the previous contest with a strained left hip flexor, scored 13 points on a night he was knocked around by Boston’s front court but hit a key layup down the stretch to aid the Kings’ cause.
Forward Jeff Green scored a game-high 29 points for the Celtics, who lost their fourth straight. Center Kris Humphries finished with 19 points and forward Brandon Bass added 12 points for the Celtics.
Boston never led in losing its 14th consecutive contest to a Western Conference opponent. After trailing 49-33, the Celtics briefly tied the contest with an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter. Forward Kelly Olynyk canned a 3-pointer for his only bucket on one possession, then canned 1 of 2 free throws on the next after a flagrant foul called on Kings forward Carl Landry to make it 85-85 with 6:13 to go.
But after a Cousins free throw, Gay connected on a mid-range jumper from the wing, then drove the hoop and drew a goaltending call for a 90-85 lead. Then Gay knocked down a pair of free throws, and with the Celtics within six, his layup drove home the final nail.
Cousins was muscled by Humphris and Olynyk for much of the contest and nearly blew his cool. He picked up his 13th technical foul, tying him with Los Angeles Clippers center Blake Griffin for the NBA lead. And he nearly received another one when he threw an elbow at Humphries as the Celtics center impeded Cousins as he ran up the court.
Cousins also failed to block a shot for the first time in 17 games.
Guard Ben McLemore scored 11 points, and forwards Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams and Landry all added 10 for Sacramento. Guard Jerryd Bayless added 16 points for the Celtics.
Kings forward Reggie Evans, acquired with guard Jason Terry from the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, did not play in his Sacramento debut.
NOTES: Kings G Jason Terry, acquired Wednesday from the Brooklyn Nets along with F Reggie Evans, will miss the rest of the season to rehab a left knee that has bothered him all season. Sacramento GM Pete D’Alessandro said the Kings want Terry to return at full strength next season. The 15-year veteran averaged a career-low 4.5 points in 35 games with Brooklyn after having surgery on the knee before the campaign. … Boston C Jared Sullinger missed the game after suffering what the team called a “mild concussion” during Friday’s loss at the Los Angeles Lakers. … The Kings were allowing opponents to shoot 43.4 percent from the field in their first eight games in February, the fourth-best mark in the NBA. They also were fourth in offensive rebounding during the month (12.5). … After losing to Los Angeles on Friday, the Celtics had been outscored by an average of 13.2 points in dropping 11 straight against Western Conference opponents.
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