It all came down to the final play Sunday afternoon in Sacramento, and this game between the Celtics and Kings was decided by the rim.
Trailing 100-99 with 13.3 seconds remaining, the Celtics put the ball in Kemba Walker’s hands for their final trip up the floor. He calmly dribbled it from baseline to baseline, before facing a double-team from Buddy Hield and Cory Joseph.
Thanks to the help defense, Marcus Smart was left wide open beyond the 3-point arc. Walker saw this opportunity and kicked it out to his backcourt mate. Hield quickly returned to Smart in an attempt to defend the deep ball, but Smart drove past Hield toward the bucket instead
Kings forward Richaun Holmes held a commanding presence under the hoop, so Smart rose up from just inside the free-throw line for a soft floater. The ball then journeyed from the inside of the front rim, to the backboard, and then back to the front rim where it remained suspended for what seemed like an eternity.
Gravity, however, wasn’t on Boston’s side, as the ball dipped off the wrong side of the rim and fell to the hardwood. With that, Sacramento secured a one-point victory, halting the Celtics’ impressive winning streak at 10 games.
It seemed as though every time the Kings needed a big bucket Sunday afternoon, Buddy Hield was there to deliver.
The fourth-year guard logged a game-high 35 points and knocked down three separate go-ahead shots during the final 5:02 of the fourth quarter.
Hield was particularly effective from 3-point range, where he knocked down 7-of-12. Those seven 3-pointers alone would have outscored any other player in the game, as no one else notched more than 18 points on the day.
Hield made 14-of-24 from the field in total, while also corralling six rebounds, dishing out two assists and snagging a game-high four steals.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics had six players reach double figures in scoring, led by Jaylen Brown's 18-point effort.
- Buddy Hield scored 35 points, which was nearly double the production of the next-highest scorer (Brown).
- Bogdan Bogdanovic dished out a game-high 10 assists for Sacramento.
- Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker led the passing game for Boston, as they finished with nine assists apiece.
- The Celtics only turned the ball over three times in the second half after committing 11 turnovers in the first half.
- Boston had a 46-45 edge in rebounding.
- Daniel Theis logged a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards.
- The C's had a 40-28 scoring advantage in the paint.
- Hield finished with twice as many steals (four) as any other player.
- Jayson Tatum logged a game-best plus/minus rating of plus-12 in spite of the close finish.
- Semi Ojeleye scored 11 points, nearly matching his scoring production for season (14 points) up until this game.
Quote of the Night
The streak put more emphasis on us to do things better. Although we don't want to lose, the loss is a good loss, brings us back down to earth.
Marcus Smart on Boston's 10-game winning streak coming to an end.