THE Boston Celtics rode a strong fourth quarter surge to hold off the Sacramento Kings, 97-92, at the TD Garden on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
The Celtics pounced on a rusty Kings squad early, building a 13-point lead in the first period before Sacramento rallied back and even took a 72-69 advantage into the fourth frame. But Boston started the quarter with an 18-4 run, holding Sacramento scoreless for almost four minutes while scoring 10 unanswered points to retake the lead for good.
The Kings trimmed an 8-point deficit down to three, 87-90, with 1:31 to go, but Al Horford sank a three-pointer and two crucial free throws to finish off Sacramento.
Horford led the Celtics, who improved to 11-8, with 26 points while Thomas added 14 of his 20 markers in the second half to power their comeback. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley chipped in 16 and 15 points, respectively.
DeMarcus Cousins finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in a losing effort for the Kings, who fell to 7-12. Rudy Gay and Darren Collison each scored 13, while Matt Barnes had a double-double off the bench with 12 points and 16 rebounds.