In a game of runs, the Celtics outlasted the Kings to start their road trip out with a win. The Celtics came out strong and built a lead but got sloppy at the end of the first quarter turning the ball over and allowing the crowd to get into the game and at the end of one quarter, the Celtics had an 18-16 lead. Pierce was scoreless in the first but had his hands full with Artest.
The Kings started the second quarter where they left off with a steal and a basket and with 9:40 left in the half, the Kings took a 22-18 lead on an 11-0 run. But the Celtics came roaring back with a 9-0 run of their own to take a 29-24 lead. From then on it was all Boston as the Celtics took a 53-29 lead into the half. Pierce scored 14 points all in the second quarter. KG had 10 points at the half and Ray Allen added 13. Perk had a strong first half with 3 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a block along with some good defense.
The third quarter was controlled by the Kings. They opened the quarter with a 10-1 run and the Celtics started the quarter with 6 straight turnovers. Perk picked up a technical foul and Doc pulled him and he didn't play again and finished with 3 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks in only 19 minutes. The Kings cut the lead to 5 at one point but the Celtics were able to stretch it to 66-56 at the end of 3 quarters. The Kings outscored the Celtics 27-13 in the third quarter.
In the 4th quarter, the Celtics took charge and were able to win the game by 20 points with Rondo leading the charge and aggressively taking the ball to the hoop several times. The Kings were playing very rough and the Celtics did well not to retailiate. Miller raked KG across the face twice. The second time was scary as KG stayed on the floor holding his eyes as they went to a time out. It should have been a flagrant as he clearly wasn't going for the ball. Garcia was pushing and shoving KG the entire game and fouled Rondo very hard a couple of times as well.
Rondo finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 0 turnovers in 29 minutes and won the Tommy Award for his efforts. It was his aggressiveness at the end of the game that set the tone for the Celtics to surge ahead. Ray Allen finished with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals in 36 minutes of play. House came off the bench and hit some big 3's and finished with 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist in 28 minutes.
Paul Pierce played very good defense on Artest, holding him to 15 points, while scoring 16 points with 4 rebounds and 6 assists in 41 minutes of play. KG brought his usual intensity to the game and had a double double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block in 36 minutes. Posey had a stong game off the bench with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block in 29 minutes. Pollard added 2 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist in 10 minutes and Scal had a rare early appearance and had 3 rebounds and an assist in 6 minutes.
The Celtics shot 41% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc while holding the KIngs to 38% from the field and only 13% on 3's. The Celtics also out rebounded the Kings 45-36. The Celtics much maligned bench outscored the Kings bench 26-20. The Celtics first extended road trip is off to a good start. The real test will come as they fact Seattle on the second of back to back games. The final 2 games will be their toughest as they face the Jazz and Lakers in back to back games. 1 down and 3 to go.