Kings hold themselves accountable for sloppy loss to Celtics


SACRAMENTO -- The first couple of words that came out of Mike Brown’s mouth in his postgame press conference perfectly summarized the Kings’ 132-109 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center.

“Easy assessment. They kicked our behinds,” Brown told reporters after the loss. 

After wrapping up a four-game road trip in Chicago, Brooklyn, Washington D.C. and then Utah, the Kings headed back home to play the second game of a back-to-back and their fifth game in seven nights. 

But no one made any excuses for the ugly loss. 

“You know, everybody has to play these types of games, so you got to play them," Brown said."Whatever happens, happens. Were the guys tired? Probably. But at the end of the day, you still have to say what happened out on the floor.” 

What happened on the floor was the Kings turned the ball over too much and the Celtics took advantage of it. Boston had a 21-6 advantage in points off turnovers, only committing five giveaways to Sacramento’s 14. 

That really was the difference in the game, considering how both teams shot the ball incredibly well and how close the final numbers lined up. 

The Celtics were 49 of 92 (53.3 percent) from the field and 18 of 44 (40.9 percent) from downtown. The Kings weren’t far behind, shooting 39 of 81 (48.1 percent) from the field and 17 of 44 (38.6 percent) from 3-point range. 

Regardless of the heavy workload in the last week, the Kings -- to the surprise of many -- came out sharp early in the game, but it didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off. After outscoring Boston in the first quarter, Sacramento was outscored in the remaining three quarters. 

Domantas Sabonis was a big part of that early start, being put on triple-double watch in the first quarter. He finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in 37 minutes. 

Even though Sabonis’ efforts weren’t enough for the Kings, his consistent play this season is being admired by many around the league. 

“Sabonis is a dog, man,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said after the game. “I’ve been a fan of his game for a while now. How physical he is, how he is patient but deliberate, finds his guys. He’s tough, especially if you don’t pick him up above the 3-point line. 

“But I think tonight we tried to keep him as far away from the basket as possible, and he still managed to affect the game. Sabonis is a dog.” 

And while Sabonis admits fatigue might have been a factor in Tuesday’s loss, the three-time All-Star, too, isn’t making excuses. 

“Definitely, I feel like we all kind of felt it today,” Sabonis told reporters postgame. “But you know, it’s not an excuse. That’s part of the schedule and every team has gone through it. At the end of the day, we just had to fight through it and do a better job in the second half.” 

Meanwhile, the Kings' other All-Star was blunt and straightforward in his two-minute postgame press conference. 

“I just think they beat us to every ball, second chance points, scoring off turnovers,” Fox said. “They beat us on all the hustle stats. They beat us in every facet of the game tonight.”

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The Celtics did a good job limiting Fox, who’s making a strong case for an All-NBA team this season, with just 18 points, one rebound and three assists in 29 minutes. 

After the game, Boston star Jayson Tatum had high praise for the Kings and even vouched for Fox’s All-NBA campaign. 

“They’re a lot better than they have been in recent years,” Tatum said. “Give a lot of credit to Mike Brown, he’s got the guys playing a lot better. Fox is playing at an All-NBA level, Sabonis has been great for them and they just play with so much pace. 

“I feel like all those guys got a lot more confidence and when you play with confidence and freedom, naturally it opens things up for you as an individual and as a group. They’ve been on a roll.” 

Even though the Kings team that the world watched on Tuesday doesn’t reflect the team they’ve been all season, the reality check will become a lesson learned for a young, hungry team as they approach the postseason for the first time in 17 seasons. 

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