SACRAMENTO — Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points and made one of Sacramento’s two four-point plays in the second half as the Kings handed the Boston Celtics their third straight lopsided loss on a California road swing, 118-96 on Sunday night.
John Salmons added 23 points off the bench, Jason Thompson scored 20 and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double for the Kings, who ended the calendar year by winning their sixth home game out of the last seven.
The Celtics are going in the other direction after handily beating Brooklyn on Christmas Day.
They followed that win with a trip to California to face the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State and Sacramento and got outscored by 69 points in losing all three.
The Kings were in control for most of this game and then pulled away with their long-range shooting in the fourth quarter. James Johnson and Jimmer Fredette made 3-pointers early in the fourth and then Salmons’ 3-pointer midway through the quarter gave the Kings a 100-84 lead.
Thomas hit from long range on Sacramento’s next trip while being fouled by Paul Pierce. He added the free throw for the four-point play that made it 104-86 with 5 minutes to play.
Even the return to the lineup of star point guard Rajon Rondo couldn’t help the Celtics. Rondo, who missed Saturday’s loss at Golden State with a bruised right thigh and hip, missed his first five shots and finished with two points and 10 assists.
Pierce scored 20 points to give him 23,189 in his career, passing Adrian Dantley for 23rd place all-time. Jason Terry also had 20 for Boston.
The Kings took a six-point lead midway through the third quarter when Marcus Thornton was fouled by Terry on a 3-pointer. Thornton sprained his left ankle on the play when he landed on Terry’s foot and left the game. Johnson made the free throw to complete the four-point play and make it 63-57.
A 3-pointer by Thomas extended Sacramento’s lead to 13 points in the final minute of the third. The Celtics trailed 84-73 after three — the 11th straight quarter they had trailed after on this road trip.
The Kings got off to a fast start with Cousins feeding Thompson for a dunk and then getting a steal and a jam as Sacramento did most of its damage near the rim. The Celtics missed 11 of their first 13 shots and trailed by 10 early before cutting the deficit to six after one.
Fredette sparked an 8-0 run in the second quarter with two fast-break layups and an assist on Salmons’ breakaway. But the Celtics only trailed 54-49 at halftime after Kevin Garnett beat the buzzer with a layup when the Kings got caught celebrating Cousins’ basket with 1.5 seconds remaining.
NOTES: Kings G Tyreke Evans will get a second opinion this week on his sore left knee that sidelined him for the 12th time this season. ... Celtics G Leandro Barbosa rejoined the team after going home to his native Brazil to deal with family issues. He entered late and scored two points in 4 minutes. ... Sacramento G Aaron Brooks was sidelined by a sore left ankle.