Justin Reed was indeed activated and actually played the last 2:43 of this game. That should tell you something about how the game went, Reed actually got in. The Celtics had won 11 of their last 13 home games, but only the effort part of the equation that earned those wins was present tonight. The rest of the parts of the equation came and went.
Phoenix came out running to a 7-4 lead. The Fleet crowd vocalized some of thier recent displeasure with the play and more importantly, effort of Mark Blount, by booing him when he failed to run after a ball heading out of bounds. GP was getting the better of his matchup against Steve Nash by exploiting his post-up advantage and the C's closed to 14-12 with 6:20 still left in the 1st quarter. It would prove to be the closest the C's ever got.
PHX then exploded, scoring from a barrage of deep bombs by JRich and Co. and the Suns launched themselves out to a lead of 31-17 with 3:17 left. Jiri Welsch and "I Love" Waltah both stepped up thier game in the late 1st and when the buzzer sounded, had helped to keep the C's close: End of 1 - 40-31 PHX.
Note to self: When you've just put up a 31 point quarter and you're down by 9,..........Well, It may be one of those nights.
Quote of the Half: Mike Gorman on PHX Offense - "they sure don't hesitate to shoot, do they?!" (No mike, no they don't.)
Let me summarize here. What happened in the 2nd quarter is a shining example of why the Phoenix Suns have the record they do. They operated on an offensive output level that I can only hope the C's copy the game tape and aspire to be like. We didn't help by not only not being able to meet thier scoring output, but we were even playing decent defense. Alot of PHX's scoring was done with Celtic defenders in thier face.
We got worked and hard. Perkins had some nice defensive moments, forcing turnovers and blocking shots, including blocks on 2 consecutive possessions. RD shot 1/9 FG. Nash had 10 assists already.
At the Half: 74-48 Suns. (OUCH!!!)
(From here on out I'm just going to highlight, because as you can probably tell, there's too much game action to even try to give you a clear idea of the way it played out.)
Amare had a poster dunk at 9:25, making it 78-54. GP and Amare both got T'ed up at 7:10. RD had a nice follow up dunk on a Waltah miss to make it 89-72. Waltah and RD kept at it for a while in the 3rd and managed to get the C's in sight of the Suns: 96-84 at the end of 3.
Delonte West got into the game at 1:21 left in the quarter.
Random Stat: PHX only shot 32%FG in the 3rd, while the C's shot 62% FG. C's scored 32 points in the quarter.
Nash flirted with foul trouble in the 2nd half, but it never ended up being a major issue for the Suns. The C's widdled it down to 9, but couldn't make the run serious, even though they shot over 65% FG for the half.
Tony Allen gave the Fleet Center crowd something to cheer about at the end of the game with a steal and windmill dunk.
The Suns were just too much for the C's tonight: 128-119 FINAL.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce
PP tallied 34 pts, 9 rbs, and 4 asst. Normally, I'd be raving about this one, but I want to point out that while PP did shoot 14/22 FG's, He did force quite a few shots (in fact one score, Tommy was about to yell at him for not passing to TA, when PP scored and he said "Nevermind"). He also had 6 turnovers. He had a good game, but it was clear that we saw some reckless decisions by Paul Pierce tonight.