BOSTON — The Sacramento Kings came into TD Garden Sunday having allowed 116.7 points per game in losing six of their previous seven games.
The Boston Celtics took advantage of the poor defense on a team that may be in the process of getting coach George Karl fired, running to a 128-119 over the Kings.
Boston’s seventh straight home win, fourth straight win and ninth in their last 10 overall saw the Celtics score a season-high 74 points in the first half and then turn that into a season-high for points in a game.
The Celtics threatened to blow a 21-point third-quarter lead, the Kings (21-30) getting as close as five with 1:40 remaining. But guard Isaiah Thomas, taken by the Kings as the 60th and final pick of the 2011 draft before he left for Phoenix as a free agent, scored nine points and dished out his ninth assist of the game in the final 1:50 to ensure the win.
Thomas finished with 22 points and four rebounds. Guard Avery Bradley, whose last-second 3-pointer defeated the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Friday night, scored 25 points, forward Jared Sullinger matched his season high with 21 and center Tyler Zeller came off the bench and posted a season-high 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots for the Celtics (31-22).
Boston had 34 assists on 51 baskets, went 13-for-24 from 3-point range and survived despite a season-high 24 turnovers.
Big man DeMarcus Cousins, the man in the middle of all the first Karl rumors, scored 16 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and had seven rebounds and six assists. He is averaging 31 points per game in the last 18 games.
Guard Rajon Rondo, the former Celtic making his second return trip to Boston, had 14 points, five assists and six steals, while guards Marco Belinelli and Darren Collison both had 16 points and rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein 15 in the loss.
NOTES: As part of Black History Month, both teams wore No. 11 Cooper T-shirt in honor of Chuck Cooper, the first African-American ever drafted by the NBA — the Celtics in 1950. … Kings G Rajon Rondo scored 29 points with the Dallas Mavericks on his first return to Boston last season. Unlike last year, when he was still recovering from 2013 knee surgery, Rondo, who signed a one-year deal with the Kings, has been healthy from the start. “I feel great,” he said. He received a huge ovation pregame but heard boos every time he touched the ball.