By: Kenny Doyle
The Celtics bested the Sacramento Kings easily Wednesday night 113-86. The C's extended their win streak to 6 in their 2nd straight blowout win, giving their star players plenty of rest. Over the last 2 games Kyrie Irving has played a total of 2 minutes in the 4th quarter. It's hard to put up the kind of numbers Isaiah Thomas put up last year in the 4th when your team's winning by so much that you're not even on the court.
Nevertheless, Kyrie continued to do his damage in the first 3 quarters. Irving and Jaylen Brown each finished the game with 22 points and were the team's leading scorers, but it was the bench that really won the Celtics the game. The Celtics were down 30-29 in the 2nd quarter when Theis and Rozier led the C's on an 11-0 run that put them up by 10 and they never looked back. Theis ended with his first career double double and Rozier led the bench in scoring with 12. Rozier has continued to be the Celtics 6th man and has completely taken the reigns from Marcus Smart as the leader of the Celtics 2nd unit.
Rebounding was the Celtics kryptonite last season, but Baynes and Theis have really changed that. The Celtics haven't had bigs that fight for rebounds like those 2 since Kevin Garnett left town. With Theis and Baynes leading the way, the Celtics outrebounded the Kings 52-26. FIFTY-TWO to TWENTY-SIX. They doubled their total. The Celtics would've never seen a number like that with last season's team. Most teams don't see a number like that. The Celtics massive advantage on the glass just speaks to how much more complete they are as a team this year.
Say what you will about Isaiah Thomas, and you can say a lot. but Kyrie Irving has played so much better on defense than he did last year. Kyrie Irving is leading the NBA in steals and it shows how much of a difference it makes for the Celtics on that end of the floor. The Celtics allowed less than 100 points for the 6th straight game, something that Brad Stevens has never done as the Celtics head coach. The real test of how good the team is defensively may come in the next game against OKC's new big 3. If the Celtics can hold the Thunder under 100 points, which only the Jazz have done so far this season, they will prove to the NBA that their defense it legit.
Jaylen Brown had his third 20-point game of the season and is now averaging 16.3 points on 48% shooting and 41% from three. Jaylen is continuing his rise to stardom. This is not just a hot streak. The Celtics are trusting Jaylen Brown, putting the ball in his hands, and letting him make plays. For Brown to be shooting 41% from three is ridiculous and will come down, but he's making defenders have to respect his shot and close out on him and when they do he will have the driving lanes he needs to get to the basket and finish. A lot of people were surprised when the Celtics took Jaylen Brown 3rd overall in 2016, but nobody is questioning it now. Brown looks like a star in the making and is already making his impact felt on the team with the best record in the NBA. Something not a lot of top picks can say in there 2nd season.
Photo: (For The Win - USA Today)