Wallace, Pierce lead Celtics past Kings
SACRAMENTO – Rasheed Wallace and Paul Pierce each scored 17 points, and the Boston Celtics held off the Sacramento Kings for a 95-92 victory on Tuesday night.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Celtics, who had lost five of eight games before the All-Star break. Boston is 10-13 since Christmas and has seen its Atlantic Division lead shrink to 4 1/2 games over second-place Toronto.
Omri Casspie scored 19 points, Tyreke Evans had 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and Jason Thompson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped 19 of 23 games since Dec. 28.
Ray Allen scored 15 points and Eddie House had 12 for Boston, which made six straight free throws in the final 15.4 seconds to seal the victory.
Evans cut the lead to 91-90 on a 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left. Fouled immediately after the basket, Allen made both free throws to put the Celtics ahead 93-90. Casspi followed with two free throws to pull Sacramento within 93-92 with 4.2 seconds remaining.
Two free throws by Pierce put the Celtics’ lead back to three, and Casspi missed two free-throw attempts, the second on purpose, to conclude the game.
Injuries to several key players have contributed to a radical departure for a team that opened the season 23-5. Boston is already two losses shy of their total from last season and two over the total from their 2007-08 championship season.
Trailing the entire second half, the Kings took an 85-84 lead when Casspi connected on a 3-pointer with 3:37 remaining.
After a quiet first half, Allen scored seven points in the third quarter when Boston extended its lead to 76-69 heading into the fourth.
Boston’s bench played a big role in the opening half, contributing 34 points. Wallace, in a reserve role, scored 10 points and House had nine, helping Boston assume a 57-52 lead. Casspi scored 12 points for the Kings.
NOTES: Francisco Garcia, who broke his forearm in a freak preseason injury, played in his first game of the season, going scoreless in one minute in the second quarter. … House made three consecutive 3-pointers, scoring nine straight points for Boston in the second quarter when the Celtics led 27-22. … The Kings announced Tuesday they would be reducing lower-level season-ticket prices by 6 percent for next season.
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