Celtics-Kings takeaways: C's become first NBA team to reach 15 wins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics have so many weapons offensively, and the Sacramento Kings found out firsthand Friday night at TD Garden.
The C's offense exploded late in the third quarter and carried that momentum to a 122-104 victory over the Kings. Boston outscored Sacramento 58-44 in the second half. The C's shot 49.4 percent from the field (41-of-83) and 43.2 percent from 3-point range (16-of-37) overall. Eleven different players scored for the Celtics and seven of them poured in eight-plus points.
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The win improves the Celtics' record to an NBA-leading 15-4.
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The Celtics resume their homestand Sunday night against Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards. But before we look ahead to that matchup, here are three takeaways from Celtics-Kings.
1) Huge second-half run sparks C's
The Kings opened up a 84-78 lead on the Celtics with 4:04 remaining in the third quarter. That's when it all fell apart for Sacramento.
The Celtics closed out the third quarter on a 16-0 run for a 94-84 lead. Jayson Tatum scored seven of those points.
Boston didn't let up to begin the fourth quarter, opening the frame on a 19-4 run. Over a 10:09 span between the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter, the Celtics went on a 35-4 run and opened up a 113-88 advantage.
The Celtics reached a level the young and less talented Kings just couldn't match.
Payton Pritchard and Luke Kornet both played pivotal roles in Boston's turnaround. Pritchard scored nine points and injected plenty of energy into Boston's offense after entering the game for the first time in the third quarter. Kornet scored four points with five rebounds and two blocks during that run.
Pritchard and Kornet finished a plus-22 and plus-19, respectively, in the second half. They helped the Celtics bench outscore their Kings counterparts 20-3 over the final two quarters.
This crazy scoring run also was a prime example of how dangerous the Celtics can be when they're firing on all cylinders. Boston entered Friday with the league's second-best offensive rating and the second-most points scored per game (119.7).
2) Another MVP performance for Jayson Tatum
Tatum played fantastic in the Celtics' Wednesday night win over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, and he once again led the charge offensively Friday night with his 10th 30-point game of the season.
Tatum finished with 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting, along with eight rebounds, four assists and one steal in 31 minutes.
Tatum's 580 points are the most in Celtics history through the first 19 games of a season, besting John Havlicek's previous record of 530.
The 24-year-old superstar is on pace to become the first Celtics player ever to average 30-plus points per game over the course of a full regular season. He's at 30.6 points per game right now.
3) C's have room for improvement in the paint
The Celtics could have easily put this game away in the first half.
They ended the first quarter with a 36-22 lead, but the Kings roared back by outscoring the Celtics 40-28 in the second quarter. Those 40 points are the most the C's have allowed in a single quarter all season. The last time the Celtics gave up more than 40 points in a quarter was on Christmas Day versus the Milwaukee Bucks last season.
The Kings scored 26 of their 40 second-quarter points in the paint.
One of the reasons why the Kings lost this game is they stopped going into the paint in the second half. Sacramento shot twice as many 3-pointers in the second half compared to the first half.
Overall, the Kings outscored the Celtics 50-42 in the paint and out-rebounded Boston 45-38.
The NBA is a mostly perimeter game these days, but to be a real championship threat, teams must play at a high level in the paint at both ends of the court. The Celtics still have plenty of room for improvement in this area, and getting starting center Robert Williams back in the lineup will help massively in that regard.