Kings hold off short-handed Celtics 105-98

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - For two teams that only face each other twice a year, Sacramento and Boston sure played like longtime rivals.

Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins and the Celtics’ Kris Humphries were hit with technical fouls after tussling for a rebound in the first half, part of a game-long battle between the two big men that at times looked more suitable for a rugby field. Sacramento’s Carl Landry was called for a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter after sending Jerryd Bayless crashing to the floor to stop a fast break.

At least Bayless and Sacramento guard Isaiah Thomas kept their cool, a change from when the two teams met in Boston earlier this month.

Thomas scored 21 points and matched his career high with 12 assists, Rudy Gay added eight of his 22 points over the final six minutes and the Kings beat the Celtics 105-98 Saturday night.

“We were poised down the stretch and that’s really the thing that sealed the game,” said Cousins, who had 13 points and seven points after sitting out Wednesday’s 101-92 loss to Golden State. “They beat us on the offensive boards a lot, our turnovers hurt us a lot … but through it all what I think saved the game was the more poised team, and that was us tonight.”

Not all the time.

At one point in the second half, Cousins crashed into Humphries as the two men were running down the court and then gave the Celtics’ center a hard shove.

“Guys were playing very physical, but that’s just how it is sometimes,” Thomas said. “The only time it was a little chippy in Boston was me and Bayless. But today it seemed like it was everybody, even the refs. We played through it the best we could.”

The Celtics, playing without starters Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, struggled to keep their cool.

Boston’s frustrations boiled over late in the fourth quarter, when Gerald Wallace and coach Brad Stevens were ejected with 35 seconds left to play.

“It was a long game, a lot of possessions and a lot of things happened,” Stevens said. “We still had a chance to win.”

Despite being short-handed, the Celtics managed to keep it close and tied the game at 85-all following Kelly Olynyk’s free throw with 6:23 remaining.

Rudy Gay helped Sacramento pull away.

After a free throw from Cousins broke the tie, Gay made a pair of long jumpers, sank a pair of free throws then scored on a layup to make it 99-91.

Jeff Green stopped the run with two free throws, but Thomas made six straight free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

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