NBC Sports

What we learned as Kings outlast Celtics for impressive win

NBC Sports
Kings' De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton

When the Kings dropped to 5-10 on the season, it looked like the ship was sinking. After taking down an injury-riddled Boston Celtics club Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center by a final of 116-111, the team has won five out of six and is within a game of the .500 mark. 

It took a 48-minute effort to beat the team in green. Sacramento received major contributions across the board, including a career night from rookie Tyrese Haliburton.

Boston looked exhausted on the second night of a back-to-back, but gave the Kings a run for their money.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings picked up their second straight win and moved to 10-11 on the season. 

Rookie rescue

Haliburton has come through in the clutch countless times already in his rookie season for Sacramento. He found a way to make a difference against the Celtics in the third quarter when the game was slipping away from the Kings.

Trailing by 11 points midway through the quarter, Haliburton buried back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Kings rolling. His six points were part of a 10-0 run by Sacramento that pulled them within one. 

Haliburton struggled with his scoring touch over the last week, but he is fresh off his first Rookie of the Month award and looked energized on both ends of the court.

The 20-year-old set a new career high with 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting, including five makes from long range. He added four assists, three rebounds and two steals in the win.


The future is now 

Three of the best young players in the league were on display Wednesday night in Sacramento. De’Aaron Fox starred for the Kings, but he was up against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. 

Fox, who was selected two picks behind Tatum in the 2017 NBA Draft, finished the night with 26 points and 11 assists for his second straight double-double. He pushed the tempo for Sacramento and was the driving force behind its big win.

Tatum and Brown both posted solid nights for the Celtics, but it wasn’t quite enough. Tatum struggled with his outside shot, but still dropped in 27 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. Brown added 21 points in the loss and had a couple of highlight-reel plays.

Barnes' best season yet

Harrison Barnes is having the best season of his professional career. He’s become Mr. Reliable for Sacramento and Wednesday was no different.

After a tough shooting start, Barnes aggressively attacked the Celtics defense and came away with another strong performance. 

In 37 minutes of action, Barnes finished with 24 points, six assists and five rebounds.