Celtics Dethrone Kings in Largest Home Win in Franchise History
BOSTON – In the NBA, there are ordinary blowout wins, and then there are once-in-a-lifetime blowout wins.
On Sunday afternoon, the Boston Celtics produced an example of the former, as they beat the Washington Wizards, 116-87 on the road for their largest margin of victory of the season up to that point.
Then on Tuesday night, the C’s produced an example of the latter, as they dethroned the Sacramento Kings, 128-75 inside TD Garden for their largest margin of victory at home in their 75 years of existence.
The 53-point thrashing marked the second-largest win in franchise history, falling three points shy of the 56-point victory it produced on Dec. 8, 2018, in Chicago, which came in the form of a 133-77 win over the Bulls.
However, the C’s had never produced such a beatdown in front of their own fans. Prior to Tuesday night, they had churned out only one 50-point blowout in 3,128 home games, and that was a 153-102 win over the Philadelphia Warriors on March 7, 1962.
Boston was locked in right from the start Tuesday night, as it got off to a 16-4 lead out of the gates, which turned into a 38-13 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
“We came out focused and had great attention to detail, great intensity, but we did it on both ends of the floor,” said C’s head coach Ime Udoka. “Obviously 13 to 38 in the first quarter, we guarded extremely well, we got out and ran, moved the ball well, and then obviously making shots changes the game. But our focus was great from the start.”
And their focus didn’t falter from that point forward.
The Celtics limited Sacramento to a 17-point second quarter and entered halftime up 63-30. By the end of three quarters, Jayson Tatum (36 points) and Jaylen Brown (30 points) had outscored the Kings 66-55, and their night was over at that point.
Even in garbage time, Boston continued to pile it on with their second unit, going up by as many as 60 points in the fourth quarter.
“We were sharing the wealth,” said Tatum, who was one of seven Celtics to score at least eight points. “Everybody was contributing, everybody was hitting shots. We scored 128 points so offensively and defensively it was just a great night overall for everybody.”
As prolific as their offense was, the Celtics’ defense was just as impressive. They limited Sacramento to a 30.5 percent shooting clip from the field, which included just an 18.2 percent clip from 3-point range.
The Kings’ highest scorer was Buddy Hield, who dropped in 11 points off the bench. Not a single one of their starters reached double figures in the scoring department.
“We were getting stops and forcing them into tough shots,” said Josh Richardson, who logged 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench. “I think that gave us a lot of opportunities to be able to get out and run, and be able to use our athletic ability, and take better shots, and get shots up in transition, because that’s been a point of emphasis for us.”
Added Tatum, “We were just locked in. Obviously they missed some shots, but we were connected – all five of us – on that end.”
The Celtics have often been connected on one end and not the other this season, which has led them to several close losses. But on Tuesday night, they were nearly perfect on both sides of the ball, which enabled them to play without their blood pressure boiling over.
“It was good and stress-free,” said Richardson. “Every team needs one every now and then, and how many close games we’ve been in this season, we can’t take these for granted.”
While they can’t take a win like this for granted, it still provides a good indication that the Celtics are headed in the right direction. For once, they have been able to play back-to-back games with a fully healthy roster, and it’s no coincidence that both of those games resulted in massive margins of victory.