The Boston Celtics bounced back from an early 10-point deficit and put away the Sacramento Kings with a big fourth quarter en route to a 99-89 win at TD Garden in Boston Friday night.
It was the first game of a four-game Eastern Conference swing for Sacramento (17-33) and was their seventh straight road loss. The bench made the difference for Boston (18-33), outscoring the Kings reserves 37-12.
Sacramento got off to a quick start, holding the Celtics to 33.3 percent shooting in the first quarter and opening a 10-point lead late in the quarter on Quincy Acy’s layup before settling for a 29-21 advantage at the quarter break.
But the Celtics roared back in the second quarter, holding the Kings to 5-for-22 shooting in the period and taking a 49-46 halftime lead after Jerryd Bayless buried a 3-pointer with 1:24 to go in the half.
The Kings came back to lead briefly in the third quarter before Boston put together a 9-2 run late in the period, capped by a reverse layup by Jeff Green with 58.2 seconds to go in the quarter that put them up 71-65. Sacramento rallied with four straight points to end the quarter on put-back dunk by Jason Thompson and a pair of free throws from Derrick Williams that cut the Celtics’ lead to 71-69.
But Boston opened the fourth quarter on an 18-4 run, opening up a 16-point lead on a three-point play by Jared Sullinger with 7:04 to play. Boston’s largest lead came on Chris Johnson’s layup with 6:07 left, which opened a 93-75 advantage.
Cousins had a big night for the Kings with 31 points and 16 rebounds, but Sullinger matched him, posting an identical line of 31 and 16 for the Celtics.
Each team played without two starters. Sacramento was without small forward Rudy Gay, out with an illness, and shooting guard Marcus Thornton, who had a sore hip and knee after taking a hard fall in Wednesday night’s win over Toronto. Boston, meanwhile, was without both of its starting guards. Avery Bradley sat with a sore right ankle and Rajon Rondo was rested as he is still working his way back into game shape after missing almost a year with a torn ACL.
Isaiah Thomas added 24 points and six assists for the Kings and Williams went for 11 points and 12 rebounds starting in place of Gay. Travis Outlaw started for Thornton and did not fare as well, scoring five points on 2-of-7 shooting in 33 minutes.
Bayless came off the bench for 19 points for the Celtics, Green added 17 points and reserve Kelly Olynyk posted 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes. Gerald Wallace played 40 minutes in place of Bradley and had eight points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Sacramento was 31-for-87 (35.6 percent) overall, 5-for-15 (33.3 percent) from long range and 22-for-24 (91.7 percent) at the foul line. Boston was 40-for-88 (45.5 percent), 9-for-22 (40.9 percent) and 10-for-15 (66.7 percent).
The Celtics out-rebounded the Kings 52-47, outscored them in the paint 42-40 and beat them on the fast break 13-9. Boston committed 14 turnovers, but Sacramento converted them into just six points; conversely, the Celtics got 15 points off just 10 Kings giveaways.
The Kings continue the road trip on Sunday, facing the Washington Wizards at 3 p.m. Pacific.