Sports

Celtics make Kings their newest victims

Quincy Douby, left Franciso Garcia, right, and Sacramento couldn't stop Paul Pierce and Boston from earning and Boston from evening a victory Wednesday.
Quincy Douby, left Franciso Garcia, right, and Sacramento couldn't stop Paul Pierce and Boston from earning and Boston from evening a victory Wednesday. AP

BOSTON -- The Boston Massacre was no longer just a moment in local history.

It had become a frequent occurrence at TD Banknorth Garden, where the revived Celtics and their Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were showing no more mercy to their visitors in sporting battle than the English had against the Colonists.

A 10-0 home record came with a preposterous average margin of victory (21.1 points). The suicidal setup seemed complete as a Kings team that had yet to win on the road entered the fray. And although the Kings' 90-78 loss to start a five-game trip neared that level of competitive inequality, a bloodbath this was not.

The Kings led 45-44 at halftime, minimizing Garnett's effectiveness with scrappy play down low and plenty of help defense while Boston misfired on 18 of 20 3-pointers. They trailed 68-64 after three quarters, as a late 3-pointer by former Kings guard Eddie House sparked the surge that would bring the expected ending.

Between quarters, the JumboTron featured Celtics rookie forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who started at power forward and pushed Garnett to the center spot because of a toe injury to center Kendrick Perkins. The video version of Davis screamed for the announced crowd of 18,624, the 11th consecutive sellout, to "Stand up," and the fans obliged.

The Celtics never let up, starting the fourth quarter with a 19-6 run, as a young Kings unit that included Quincy Douby, Francisco Garcia and Spencer Hawes bore the brunt of the early damage. The Kings set the wrong sort of tone with a shot-clock violation, with the crowd sensing a rattled foe and, more importantly, the Celtics picking up on the momentum change. It was followed by a Garcia offensive foul, a Ron Artest turnover that was one of 20 for the Kings and a Brad Miller offensive foul before Miller's jumper gave the Kings their first points of the quarter nearly five minutes in.

"You've got to be tough-minded to win on the road, and you've got to play four good quarters," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "It's a tough loss because we're playing one of the best teams in the league. And in my opinion, I think we outplayed them for three quarters. It was a quiet, business-like victory for them."

Business as usual for the Kings meant they fell to 0-9 on the road, matching the 1987-88 and 1993-94 teams for the franchise's worst road record to begin a season. Business as usual for Boston meant another victory, as their record improved to 18-2 to match the franchise's best start, achieved during the 1984-85 season. Their 11-0 start at home is one victory away from tying the franchise record.

Davis made up for an off-night for Garnett (11 points, six rebounds) by scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds in his first start. Pierce was the only Celtic to score 20-plus points, finishing with 26.

Yet for all the well-deserved hype over the Celtics' newfound firepower, their defense this season has been enough to make Red Auerbach grin from his grave. They lead the league in points allowed per game (87.7) and held the Kings to a season low.

"When teams are playing us, we want them to feel uncomfortable, to make them have to use their second and third options (on offense)," Allen said.

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