BOSTON — The Boston Celtics, playing without their starting guard, exploded on a 19-2 fourth-quarter run and captured their third straight win on Friday night.
With both guards Rajon Rondo (soreness) and Avery Bradley (ankle) sitting out, forward Jared Sullinger scored nine of his 31 points and guard Jerryd Bayless hit two 3-pointers and ran the offense during the run to power Boston to a 99-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Sullinger, who also had 16 rebounds, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Bayless, who came off the bench, had 19 points and four assists and forward Jeff Green scored 17 points despite a 6-of-20 shooting night.
The Kings, playing without forward Rudy Gay (illness) and guard Marcus Thornton (hip, knee) saw their two-game winning streak snapped despite 31 points and 16 rebounds by center DeMarcus Cousins and 24 points and six assists from guard Isaiah Thomas.
Swingman Gerald Wallace, starting at guard, had eight points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and two steals for the Celtics, while rookie forward Kelly Olynyk came off the bench with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Kings used a 14-3 run in the final minutes of the first quarter to go up by eight at the end of one. But the Celtics scored the last two points of the quarter to start a 12-0 run that put them ahead by two. The teams went back and forth and Boston led by three at the break.
Sacramento scored the first six points of the third quarter, prompting Celtics coach Brad Stevens to call a quick timeout. Whatever he said worked as his team went on a 10-0 run out of the timeout — eight of the points by Sullinger. But ahead by seven, the Celtics saw the visitors score seven straight points and it was tied again.
Boston opened a six-point lead but led by two at the end of the third quarter.
Thomas and Bayless drew technical fouls for a near scrap in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: G Rajon Rondo (general soreness) and G Avery Bradley (ankle) were out for Boston, while F Rudy Gay (illness) and F Marcus Thornton (hip, knee) were out for the Kings. The Celtics were also missing backup C Vitor Faverani (knee). … Rondo, still being brought along after returning from knee surgery, is slated to play at home against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday but sit Monday night in Milwaukee on the back end of a back-to-back. … The Celtics signed G Chris Johnson for the rest of the season. … Sacramento C DeMarcus Cousins was passed over when New Orleans C Anthony Davis was named to replace Kobe Bryant in the All-Star Game. Cousins, averaging 22.7 points and 11.6 rebounds before Friday night, is the only Top 10 scorer in the league not picked for the game. … The Kings continue their four-game road trip at Washington on Sunday.
Knicks 117, Nuggets 90
NEW YORK — The New York Knicks ended their three-game losing streak on Friday night, turning back the Denver Nuggets 117-90 at Madison Square Garden.
Forward Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks (20-30) with 31 points and forward Amar’e Stoudemire added 17 points.
The Knicks are 8-0 this season when they score at least 110 points. They matched a season high for steals with 16.
Denver (24-24) was led by guard Ty Lawson, who scored 24 points.
The sloppily played game featured a combined 44 turnovers and 44 fouls.
The Nuggets made just six shots from the field in the fourth quarter.
Shooting guard J.R. Smith scored eight points in a row on long jumpers to provide the Knicks with a 25-point lead, 102-77, with 7:09 left in the game.
The Knicks went on a tear to start the third quarter. Topped by Anthony’s five points, the Knicks used a 12-4 burst to take a 62-48 advantage with 8:32 to go in the quarter. He scored 11 points in the third. New York displayed some crisp passing, collecting eight assists on 14 shots from the floor.
In the second quarter, Anthony snapped a 44-44 deadlock when he drained a 3-pointer with 1:35 to go. That was followed by a runner from guard Raymond Felton and one free throw by Smith for a 50-44 Knicks halftime lead.