Isaiah Thomas and Celtics Get 'Punked' By Sacramento Kings, Lose 108-92
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. – It was a homecoming of all sorts for Isaiah Thomas, the Sacramento Kings’ No. 60th pick overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. It was also an unexpected gift bestowed to the the sixth-year point guard.
But all the hoopla, handshakes, and hugs may have been a distraction for his current team, the Boston Celtics. The Kings, without DeMarcus Cousins, delivered a surprising 108-92 victory over the Celtics at Golden 1 Center.
Thomas had 26 points, seven assists, and four rebounds for the Celtics (33-19, 14-11, road). He was okay with the Kings and their fans rolling out the welcoming mat, but he did not want the C’s seven-game win streak snapped in the interim.
“It’s bigger than that but it is disappointing,” said Thomas, who only scored seven points in the final quarter where he normally comes up big. “That was probably our worst lost this season. You have to tip your hat off to them (the Kings) they played a hell of game. They punked us in every way.”
Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas signs autographs before his team played his former squad, the Sacramento Kings. Kings beat the Celtics 108-92. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Feb. 8, 2017.
With DeMarcus Cousins suspended for reaching, or, fast-tracking his way to 16 technical fouls, the Kings did their part in lowering the boom on the Celtics. The Kings made 42 of 84 shots from the field for 50 percent while allowing the Celtics to make only 29 of 73 shots from the floor at 39.7 percent.
Darren Collison led the way with 26 points, five assists, and four steals. Ben McLemore added 17 points off the bench, and Willie Cauley-Stein and Matt Barnes had 14 points each in reserve roles. Barnes also had 11 rebounds, and four assists.
The Kings (21-32, 10-15) got 50 big points from their bench against Boston. Plus, it was just an all-round effort from a team that was missing the key component of the man who bares the DeMarcus Cousins Administration’s title.
“It’s almost like you gotta give a little more to try to compensate with DeMarcus being out,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said . “Our defense was fantastic after the first quarter, they didn’t get in the lane as quite as much, and we contested a lot of shots in the fourth quarter. We just tried to keep it real positive and keep it about our defense.”
The Celtics can faithfully look back to the 17 careless turnovers they committed. Four Boston players had three or more turnovers while a couple others had two.
“There were a lot of plays that could’ve been easy and we just weren’t able to execute the pass,” said Celtics forward-center Al Horford who had three turnovers. “I had a few of them myself. That’s something I’ll make sure to correct.”
Amir Johnson had 14 points, five rebounds, and three steals for the Celtics. Marcus Smart added 10 points off the bench. Horford finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
The had no more than a 10 point lead in the first half and allowed the Kings to come back to it up 49-49 at halftime. The game was tied 69-69 with 2:47 left in the third, but the Kings went on a 8-2 run to start the fourth quarter ahead 77-71.
Where the Kings normally destruct in the fourth quarter, especially in the last three to five minutes, the team played exceptionally well. When Cauley-Stein got crowd-pleasing alley-oop dunk, assisted by Collision, the Kings lead 96-79 at the 5:01 mark. The Kings kept the pedal to the metal and with 2:17 left in the game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens pulled the starters.
“Turning the ball over, our offensive decision making wasn’t good all night,” Steven said. “For the better part of the last three quarters they (the Kings) just did whatever they wanted to.”
Thomas was the last man standing in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft. He thought he would go in the first round coming out of the University of Washington, but then Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart put Thomas’ dilemma in perspective.
“The only reason why he didn’t go in the first round is because he stands 5-foot-9,” Smart said. “Otherwise, he would have been a top 10 pick in the first round.”
While in a Kings’ uniform, he struggled to get minutes until Smart and his coaching staff notice how hard he was working. Thomas was the first and last person in the gym. Also, on game days, he was would get his workout in at least three to four hours before tipoff.
Thomas started playing and regularly.
Thomas was also a staple in the community, too. Former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson took him under his wings and introduced him to community that welcomed Thomas with open arms.
Thomas also showed up at City Council meetings to show his support of keeping the team in Sacramento when Seattle was trying to lure the team to the Northwest. Thomas was born in Tacoma.
In July 2014, Thomas was traded to the Phoenix Suns, and then on Feb. 19, 2015, he was traded to the Celtics where he has inched up to be a two-time NBA All Star.
This season he is averaging 29.9 points per game, second in the NBA, for Boston. Thomas scored a career-high 52 points against Miami on Dec. 30, 2016. Among a lot of things the Kings have done, letting Isaiah Jamar Thomas, 28, walk, was a big mistake.
One thing that is oh-so factual --- the Sacramento fans still love him. Thomas was all over the place signing autographs before the game while seeing familiar faces.
“I think it will always be like that,” Thomas said. “These fans welcomed me with open arms every since I got here - The first day I stepped foot in Sacramento. I showed them the love back. It’s genuine. Like I said, these fans are everything. There were 100 percent behind me.”
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
PA’s PRESS INFORMATION:
Boxing icon and retired champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., was courtside to view the Kings-Celtics game, particularly his good friend Isaiah Thomas.
Ty Lawson left the game after 13 minutes of play due to a hamstring injury. He’s expected to get a MRI on Feb. 9. “I still can walk and I ran back down the court after the first one. So, I feel like I’m cool. It’s not bad,” Lawson said after the game.
Former NBA player Damon Stoudamire was also in attendance at Golden 1 Center. Stoudamire now coaches the University of Pacific Tigers, which is 37 miles south of Sacramento. The Tigers are currently 8-17 overall and 2-10 in the West Coast Conference.
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.