BOSTON (AP) — Jared Sullinger scored a career-high 31 points and added 16 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics went on a 15-0 fourth-quarter run for a 99-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night and their longest winning streak in more than two months.
Jerryd Bayless added 19 points and Jeff Green had 17 for the Celtics, who won their third straight game for the first time since Dec. 3-8.
And they did it without their starting backcourt.
Rajon Rondo (soreness) and Avery Bradley (ankle) both sat out, allowing Bayless and rookie Phil Pressey to run the offense.
DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points and 16 rebounds for the Kings, who had won two straight. Isaiah Thomas had 24 points for Sacramento, and Derrick Williams had 11 points and 12 boards.
Rondo had played in eight games since missing nearly a year with a torn ACL, and the four-time All Star has been rounding into form, averaging 13.5 points, 10.5 assists, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in Boston’s last two games.
But it was Sullinger who looked like the All Star in the second half.
The second-year forward strung together six straight points during a 10-0 run that handed the Celtics a 59-52 lead midway through the third quarter.
Boston came out firing in the fourth, opening an early 11-point lead on the heels of two 3-pointers from Bayless, who also displayed his defensive skills when he hustled back on a break to block a wide-open layup by Ben McLemore with 7:45 to play.
That only further sparked the Celtics — and Sullinger in particular.
He followed the swat with a rebound and putback, delivered a three-point play, hit a 3-pointer and added a fadeaway jumper from the baseline to help preserve the lead.
Sacramento was missing one of its top threats as well. Rudy Gay, averaging 20.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, sat out with an illness.
NOTES: Boston C Vitor Faverani (knee) and Sacramento G Marcus Thornton (hip) also did not play. . Cousins was averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds over his last two games. He scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter Friday. . Sacramento lost its sixth straight in Boston. . Boston shot 45.5 percent (40 of 88) in the opening half, while Sacramento shot 35.6 percent (31 of 87). . Thomas and Bayless got into a scuffle with 5:11 remaining, and both players had to be separated by teammates and referees. . Bradley has missed six of the last eight games with a sprained right ankle.
Copyright Associated Press 2014