Celtics Torch Kings for Win in Mexico City

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MEXICO CITY – The Boston Celtics knew full well that their most recent opponent, the Sacramento Kings, play no defense.

They went out and took advantage of that fact Thursday night in Mexico City.

The Celtics, led by a dominant performance by Isaiah Thomas against his former team of three seasons, embarrassed the Kings 114-97 in the NBA’s most recent installment of its Global Games. Thomas, who scored 19 points during the first half and 21 on the night, was one of four to notch at least 20 in the game.

Sacramento entered the contest with the fifth-worst defensive rating in the league with a mark of 106.1. It also ranked fourth-worst in opponent fast break points, allowing 15.6 per game.

Both of those numbers increased Thursday night .

The Celtics, using beautiful, team-oriented offense, lit the Kings up for an offensive rating of 109.0. They also scored 19 fast break points during the win.

“For the most part we were just unselfish. We let the game come to us,” said Thomas. “Guys took the right types of shots and knocked them down. Our offense was flowing tonight.”

When this offense is flowing, every Celtic reaps the benefits. Thursday night was no exception. Boston sprayed the ball around for the best look possible, resulting in an incredible rate of 34 assists on 40 made baskets.

“I thought we had a lot of guys shooting the ball, but we also had a lot of guys finding guys that were hot, so that was good,” said Brad Stevens. “A lot of those plays were off of extra passes.”

After describing a few of those plays, Stevens added, “That’s what we want to do. We want to move the ball and find open shots.”

Making them always helps, and the Celtics did plenty of that against Sacramento’s nonexistent defense.

Be it in transition, in the half-court or off of offensive rebounds, the Celtics found open shot after open shot. They capitalized more often than not through the first three quarters of the game, connecting on 52.5 percent of their attempts while building a 26-point lead.

Many of Boston’s makes came from long range. Four Celtics made at least three 3-pointers, led by four apiece from Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. Crowder, Bradley, Thomas and Kelly Olynyk, who scored a season-high 21 points, combined to shoot 14-of-27 from beyond the arc.

This was the epitome of team offense, an offense the Kings could not contain, and one the Celtics loved showing off to their fans south of the border.

“It’s a fun type of basketball to see everybody be successful,” said Thomas, “(to see) everybody to pitch in what they have.”

Thursday night certainly wasn’t the first time we’ve seen the Celtics pick apart a defense with a balanced attack. They have shown on multiple occasions this season that they can catch fire and drown an opponent with buckets.

The Celtics have now scored at least 110 points on six different occasions, logged at least 25 assists on eight different occasions, and made at least 10 3-pointers in six of their 19 games.

As you might imagine, Boston is pretty darn good when it reaches those benchmarks. It is now 6-0 when scoring more than 110 points, 7-1 when tallying at least 25 assists, and 4-2 when connecting on at least 10 3s. They accomplished all of those feats against the Kings.

Mexico City sure wasn’t Miami, but it had its perks. The Celtics knew that they’d be able to face off with one of the league’s worst defenses, and boy, did they take advantage.