Only one team in Celtics history has felt more comfortable at home than the 2007-08 edition. And the current Celtics are just one win shy of joining that team from 23 years ago in the living room.
The Celtics improved to 11-0 at home with a 90-78 victory over the Sacramento Kings last night. Boston can tie the franchise record for best start at home, 12-0 by the 1984-85 team, with a victory tomorrow night against the Bucks. The Celtics also improved to an NBA-best 18-2, the best record after 20 games in franchise history.
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 26 points and added 6 rebounds and 4 assists, while rookie Glen Davis had a season-high 16 points and nine rebounds in his first career start. Boston, however, didn't have a great offensive night, shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 6 of 22 from 3-point range, with point guard Rajon Rondo going scoreless. But the Celtics' defense held the Kings to a season low for points, and 44.3 percent shooting.
With starting center Kendrick Perkins (toe) and backup center Scot Pollard (back) out, coach Doc Rivers turned to Davis. He entered the game averaging 4.5 points and 3.3 rebounds. And despite his well-known playful nature, he had a serious look on his face when his name was announced in the starting lineup.
"It's just like a regular day," Davis said before the game.
Two Davis free throws gave Boston a 12-8 lead with 6:07 left in the first quarter. The Celtics used a 7-0 run to take a 19-12 lead on a lay-in by Pierce with 3:13 left in the first. Boston finished the period with a 25-17 lead after receiving a combined 21 points from Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. No other Celtics made a field goal in the first quarter as the team shot 50 percent. Sacramento shot 53.3 percent but had six turnovers.
The Celtics opened the second quarter with Pierce and four reserves - Leon Powe, Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, and Eddie House. They held a 33-24 lead before Garnett and James Posey came in for Scalabrine and House with 8:27 left in the period. After being down by 12 (31-19) early in the second, the Kings trimmed their deficit to 35-30 on a Brad Miller lay-in at the 6:18 mark.
Garnett picked up his third foul with 4:51 remaining in the second after getting tangled up with Sacramento's Ron Artest and went to the bench. Artest nailed two free throws to bring the Kings within 35-32. Two straight 3-pointers by Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia gave the Kings their first lead, 38-35, with 3:25 left in the second.
After shooting 0 for 5 from 3-point range, House nailed a trey with 4.8 seconds left in the second to slice a rare deficit for Boston to 45-44. The Kings outscored Boston, 28-19, after shooting 55.6 percent, while the Celtics shot just 26.7 percent and missed 9 of 10 3-pointers.
The Celtics were down at halftime for the first time in 11 home games. Pierce had 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in the first half, while Davis had 6 points and 4 rebounds.
The Celtics opened the second half with an 11-2 run to take a 55-47 lead on a 20-foot Garnett jumper with 7:46 left in the third quarter. The Kings responded with an 8-1 run to trim their deficit to 56-55 on an Artest jumper with 5:13 left in the third. Two straight Ray Allen 3-pointers pushed Boston back up, 62-55, with 3:59 left in the third. Two Davis free throws, which gave him 10 points for the quarter, pushed Boston up, 68-64, with 52.6 seconds left in the third.
The Celtics opened the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run to take a 73-64 lead on House's 3-pointer. A 17-foot jumper by Miller trimmed the Kings' deficit to 73-66 with 7:08 left and accounted for their first points of the quarter. A House 3-pointer gave Boston an 81-68 lead with 4:34 remaining.