Sacramento 105, Boston 83

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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (TICKER) Keon Clark and Vlade Divac took advantage of the Boston Celtics’ suspect front line.

Clark and Divac both found little resistance on the inside as the Sacramento Kings rolled to a 105-83 rout of the Celtics.

The 6-11 Clark and 7-1 Divac combined for 34 points while going 14-of-18 from the floor. Clark netted 18 points and Divac 16.

“We tried to force them to double-team us inside and if they didn’t, we knew we could go 1-on-1 and get to the basket,” Divac said. “Overall, it was a good performance. We reacted well to their defense.”

Earlier Thursday, the Celtics beat the trade deadline in an attempt to improve their disappointing frontcourt by acquiring 7-footer Mark Blount and forward Mark Bryant from the Denver Nuggets for point guard Shammond Williams.

The Kings also had their way with the Celtics’ backcourt as Mike Bibby badly outplayed rookie J.R. Bremer and Doug Christie held his own against All-Star Paul Pierce.

“Pierce is one of the best twos in the league,” Christie said. “I knew I’d have my work cut out for me, definitely.”

Christie had 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds while Bibby scored 12 points for the Kings, who led by double digits after one quarter and were in cotrol the rest of the way.

Despite the loss, the Celtics concluded a 4-2 West Coast road trip.

Christie helped the Kings get their running game in gear from the start. His fifth assist on Bibby’s jumper with 5:27 left in the first quarter gave Sacramento a 18-9 lead

“The guys are hitting shots,” Christie said. “I think we’re really trying to make a concerted effort to push the ball up the court so we’re putting pressure on the defense, getting them in a bad position. Luckily, I’ve been finding guys and they’ve been knocking down shots.”

Jim Jackson drilled a 3-pointer and Clark, who scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the quarter, scored inside to make it 25-13. Clark was matched up against Antoine Walker for much of the night.

“I’ve played him enough that I know his tendencies,” Clark said. “He makes it tough on me defensively because he’s got such a good outside game. I felt like I could take advantage of him inside and make him work hard on defense.”

The Celtics failed to play with any consistency on both ends of the floor, but especially on the offensive end. They often settled for jump shots and went 8-of-31 from 3-point range.

“I thought we had great looks at the basket in the first half and did not knock those shots down,” Celtics coach Jim O’Brien said. “As a result, we dug ourselves a little bit of a hole.”

While the Celtics were struggling, the Kings were getting a variety of good looks at the basket. Sacramento took its biggest lead of the half at 46-29 with 5:32 left on Divac’s finger roll.

The Celtics used a 10-1 surge, keyed by two 3-pointers by Tony Delk, to pull within 47-39. But the Kings scored the final six points of the half to regain control.

Sacramento shot 51 percent (22-of-43) in the half. Clark had 13 points and Divac 12, going a combined 12-of-14 from the floor over the opening 24 minutes.

Peja Stojakovic added 12 points and Hedo Turkoglu 10 for the Kings, who shot 52 percent (41-of-79) overall and held a 50-41 edge on the boards.

Taking advantage of the road-weary Celtics, Sacramento started the second half with a 12-5 spurt, capped by Christie’s 3-pointer for a 65-44 cushion. They led by 21 points after three quarters and by as many as 26 in the final period.

“When you are on the road with one of the best playing teams in the business you have to keep it close. And we didn’t do a good job of doing that, especially in the third quarter when we had a chance to make a run,” Pierce said. “But you just have to tip your hats to them. They executed well, they really passed the ball well and they defend.”

Delk finished with 15 points and Delk 13 for Boston, which shot 35 percent (29-of-83).

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Boston
P. Pierce P. Pierce
8-22,  22 Pts
12 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Sacramento
D. Christie D. Christie
6-9,  18 Pts
8 Rebs, 9 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists