The Boston Celtics entered their latest meeting with the Sacramento Kings on the second night of a back-to-back West Coast set. Less than 24 hours after a brutal overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors, the C’s were without All-NBA superstar Jayson Tatum and defensive game-changer Al Horford. Tatum sustained a left ankle injury against the Warriors while 37-year-old Horford got the night off for rest purposes.
Boston also entered the contest as betting underdogs for the first time all season, but that didn’t faze the team one bit. The Celtics went to the Golden 1 Center and took the Kings to the cleaners.
For the first time since 1987, five different Celtics scored 20-plus points in the same game. Boston won 144-119 and improved to a league-best 21-6 record.
Derrick White led an inspired team effort with 28 points on a ridiculous 10-of-13 shooting from the field. The unsung hero of Beantown also canned six threes on nine attempts and became the second player in NBA history to record five 3-pointers and three blocks in consecutive games.
Jaylen Brown continued his magnificent campaign with a cool 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting. In the play of the game, Brown added yet another poster dunk to his 2023-24 highlight reel as he baptized Trey Lyles with one of the best slams of the season.
Kristaps Porzingis, who missed the Warriors game, returned with a signature two-way outburst. His 24 points, nine rebounds, and six blocks made life incredibly tough on All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis struggled to match up with Porzingis, notching just 13 points on 14 shot attempts in one of his worst individual showings of the season.
After the win, Porzingis expressed his excitement to play for Boston in an on-court interview with Dennis Scott of NBA TV.
"Celtics fans are everywhere. We’re on the road right now, and it felt like, towards the end of the game, we were at home. It’s unbelievable to play for this franchise, for these fans … being on the best team in the league. We take pride, and we want to keep this going. We want to keep evolving as a team and keep representing the Celtics the right way."- Kristaps Porzingis
Meanwhile, Jrue Holiday put together the best performance of his young Celtics career. Holiday tallied a season-high 21 points and dropped 10 dimes. He also pulled down eight boards and led the team in steals with a pair of pick-pockets.
Another Celtics guard went to work as Payton Pritchard caught fire off the bench. Pacific P ended one shy of his season-high with 20 points. Boston’s backup floor general shot 6/11 from distance and served up four assists in 29 minutes of action.
The Celtics will continue their West Coast trip the day before Christmas Eve when they visit the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers have won nine games in a row, led by Kawhi Leonard’s 29.3 points per game during that stretch. If Tatum’s ankle is good to go by then, he and Kawhi could provide NBA fans with one of the most exciting superstar showdowns of the season so far.