Welcome Wally: Szczerbiak, Celtics get best of Artest and Kings
Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Wally Szczerbiak scored 10 points in his Boston
debut, as the Celtics got the best of Ron Artest and the Sacramento Kings,
84-74, at TD Banknorth Garden.
On Thursday, the Celtics and Timberwolves pulled off a monumental trade with
Szczerbiak heading to Boston and guard Ricky Davis going to Minnesota. The
Celtics also acquired center Michael Olowokandi, center Dwayne Jones and a
future first round draft choice, while sending the Timberwolves guard Marcus
Banks, center Mark Blount, forward Justin Reed and two conditional second
round draft choices.
Artest, acquired from Indiana for Peja Stojakovic on Wednesday, had 15 points
and six rebounds in 31 minutes of action. Artest played in just 16 games for
Indiana this season, averaging 19.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest before
being placed permanently on the inactive list in early December.
Szczerbiak entered the game with 3:30 left in the second quarter and made 4-
of-7 shots in 24 minutes.
Paul Pierce had 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists to pace Boston to
its fourth victory in six tries. Kendrick Perkins added 13 points and 11
rebounds, while Raef LaFrentz ended with 12 points and 10 boards, as the
Celtics snapped a four-game skid against the Kings.
Brad Miller scored 22 points to pace Sacramento, losers in four of its last
five contests. Kenny Thomas had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who
lost for the 21st time in their last 26 trips to Boston.
The difference in the contest was mostly on the glass, as the Celtics
outrebounded the Kings, 53-31.
Fans booed Artest nearly every time he touched the ball and the forward shot
5-of-14 from the floor.
It’s been a tumultuous season for Artest, who battled a wrist injury early on
and then sealed his own fate after an interview with an Indianapolis newspaper
during the weekend of December 10-11. It was then that he blasted the Pacer
organization and requested a trade.
The 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Artest made headlines last season
when he charged into the crowd after fans after getting hit with debris during
a game against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace. Commissioner David Stern
showed no mercy, as he suspended Artest for the final 73 games of the season.
The Kings were within 68-65 early in the fourth quarter following a free throw
from Francisco Garcia. However, the Celtics pulled away for good by scoring
the next nine points. LaFrentz drilled a three-pointer for a 73-65 advantage
with 6:21 remaining and capped the burst with two free throws with 4:42 left.
The Kings held a 25-24 lead after the opening quarter and were in front 43-41
at the intermission. A 13-2 run in the third pushed the Celtics to a 65-55
lead. A Pierce jam ended the spurt.
Olowokandi didn’t play…Miller went 11-of-13 from the foul line…Sacramento
was 5-of-20 from three-point range, while Boston was 5-of-19.