Talking Points: Kings 120, Celtics 95


Talking Points: Kings 120, Celtics 95

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Sacramento Kings couldn't miss - or at least it seemed that way.

Their ability to knock down a ton of shots, KO'd the Boston Celtics in surprisingly emphatic fashion, 120-95. The 120 points were the most the C's gave up this season.

DeMarcus Cousins (20 points, seven rebounds). Marcus Thornton (36 points). Isaiah Thomas (13 points, 10 assists).

If he had a Kings jersey on, chances were pretty good that he was making shots.

After a relatively close first half, the Kings blew the game wide open with a 41-point third quarter - the most points any team has scored in any quarter against the Celtics this season.

It was one of the few games this season in which the Celtics defense disappeared for the entire game.

One of the few brightspots for Boston was Ray Allen, who had a game-high 26 points and Rajon Rondo who led all players with 12 assists.

The jumpers that Thornton made for the most part were open or lightly contested.

The baskets around the basket scored by Cousins had little resistance as well.

It was so bad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers took his starters off the floor with more than six minutes to play, as clear a signal as any that this game was a wrap and that he wanted to preserve his core guys for Saturday night's game at Denver.

With the game so out of hand, the worst thing you want if you're Boston is for someone to get hurt. But that's exactly what happened to Paul Pierce, who suffered what team officials described as a mild ankle sprain. He did not return to the game, but considering its lopsided nature, he probably would have been on the bench even if healthy.

Hot shot: Quick, who is the Sacramento Kings' leading scorer? Don't feel bad. Most of the Celtics players didn't know when Doc Rivers asked them earlier. Well they know now, and so should you. It's Marcus Thornton, who torched the C's for a season-high 36 points which is twice his team-high scoring average of 18 points per game. "Because you don't see this team, you would assume (DeMarcus) Cousins because he gets most of the press," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "Cousins played well too, but Thornton was sensational."

In-n-out: Rajon Rondo is not one to put up big shooting numbers on a nightly basis, but he's a better shooter than the 2-for-9 performance he had on Friday night. Rondo, like the rest of the Celtics, never really instilled his will on the game despite finishing with a game-high 12 assists.

Super Sub: Bench play was not a major factor in Friday's game, but the Kings did get some solid production from Travis Outlaw who had 11 points along with four rebounds.

Turning point: When the players returned to the floor to start the third quarter, one team came to play. That would be Boston. The other came to win. That would be Sacramento, which opened the third with a blistering 17-1 run. And the point the C's scored was a free throw by Ray Allen after Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins was whistled for a technical foul.

By the numbers: 41: That would the number of points Boston gave up in the third quarter. It's the most points the C's have rendered in one quarter of play this season.

Quote to note: "Anybody can beat anybody. I think we proved that ourselves." - Celtics coach Doc Rivers, when asked about his son Austin's team, No. 2-seeded Duke, being upset in the NCAA Tournament by 15th-seeded Lehigh.

Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week


Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski is almost 34 years old, but in Mexico City he provided a reminder that he's not slowing down in his 12th NFL season. 

After going four-for-four on field goals -- including a team-record 62-yarder, a 51-yarder and a 40-yarder -- and making all three of his extra points, Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career. 

During a press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick explained that someone in Gostkowski's situation probably isn't improving at this point in his career. But if he's maintaining a strong level of play, that's OK. 

"I don’t know how much real improvement you’re going to see from a player that’s been in the league 12 or 20 years in a case like Adam [Vinatieri] or somebody like that," Belichick said. "But, if the level they’re performing at is pretty good, if they can maintain that, then that’s certainly enough to help the team.

"Are there things that a player can do better? Yeah, sure, there always are technique things. I think Steve has really improved in some of his alternative kicks on kickoffs, as an example, instead of just kicking every ball as far as he can. He’s done a great job of that. I’d say it’s maintaining the timing and the overall leg speed and technique that makes kickers good at their job."

Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe


Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

The Bruins seemed to discover a winning formula on the West Coast. Now the challenge is to keep it going.

It took them more than a month of play in the regular season, but they finally won two games in a row. Anton Khudobin and the B's played strong defense and finally built leads against the Kings and Sharks, and they avoided the kind of soft goal or defensive mistake that has been at the heart of so many of their losses.

Clearly that kind of tight, defensive game is how they're going have to play until they get their full lineup back, and they need plenty of wins. They're currently stuck in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.

"It's always nice to get a couple of wins, especially against tough teams," said David Krejci, who is scoreless but averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time  in the two games since returning from a back injury. "We knew we had some areas of our game that we had to improve, and we still do after the start to the game we had against San Jose. It's nice to get two in a row, and we're focusing on three in [New Jersey]. We're building toward something, and we're on the right track. It's a big game [against the Devils].

"Playing with a lead, playing good defensively and having a good, structured game with everybody buying in . . . when you have a young team and you're playing strong clubs like LA and San Jose, it really says a lot about what we're trying to do here when you can get the job done."

The good news is the Bruins are going to make it through the Thanksgiving marker within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but they're still just scratching the surface of what they need to do to stay relevant in the East. They're hoping that finally reeling off a couple of consecutive wins can start a run of good hockey at a time when they desperately need it.

"I think we've played as a five-man unit" said Kevan Miller. "Forwards are getting back to help the 'D', and defensemen are stepping up to help the forwards. When you play like that and everybody is on the same page, it makes it that much easier. I think everybody, whether you're coming from Providence or you're up here, has played the same systems, but it can be a little bit of a struggle to get everybody on the same page.

"We've done a pretty good job of that, but doing it for 60 minutes has been a bit of an issue. We're trying to work on that."