The Celtics lost another one late. This makes two heartbreaking losses in a row for them. Despite strong efforts from Rondo, Green, and Tyler Zeller, they just couldn't finish it out.
The Suns came out hitting everything, shooting 52% in the first. They scored 9 fast break points after starting out a little slow for their standard. However, the Cs ended on a 15-4 run to close the gap. They traded runs in the second quarter and Boston finished the half facing a six point deficit.
The Celtics made a concerted effort to attack the paint in the first half. Sullinger was given numerous looks inside trying to exploit a favorable matchup, with only mixed success. As a team they only attempted 3 shots from beyond the arc.For Phoenix, The Morris brothers dominated in the first half as they combined for 23 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists.
Throughout the 3rd, the Suns would build a lead and the Celtics would storm back to keep it manageable. Boston finally tied the game with seven minutes left in the game. It came down to the wire, but they couldn't hold onto the lead.
The strength of both Phoenix and Boston lies in their backcourts.
Rondo played great and put in a near triple double. He did a nice job pushing the pace and trying to create fast breaks for the offense. He racked up a few turnovers along the way, but that's bound to happen in a game as fast paced as this one. The missed free throws at the end leave a sour taste for this game, but he really was good.
Bradley was strong defensively and added 16 points.
Goran Dragic was fantastic in this one. He scored 22 points and controlled the tempo for long stretches of the game. He made some big shots late as well.
Bledsoe was a defensive force, with his most notable example being the steal with 30 seconds left.
Isaiah Thomas started ice cold and didn't make a shot until the end of the third quarter. The Celtics attacked him when he was defending, even with Phil Pressey.
Battle of the Greens
Jeff Green came up huge in his 36 minutes. He led the Celtics in scoring with 28 points. He didn't make a single three, but was aggressive in creating shots. He added in a few monster dunks, including an and-1 to give the Celtics a two point lead with under a minute left in the 4th.
Gerald Green came into this game averaging 15 PPG, while only playing an average of 20 minutes. Gerald hit a quick 3 and threw down an alley oop almost immediately after coming into the game. He was kept in check the rest of the game though. He finished with seven points on an inefficient 13 shots.
Phoenix is an excellent fast break team, and they showed why tonight. Their trio of point guards were running constantly. The Suns picked up too many easy points on fast breaks. Boston actually outscored them in transition, but the damage was already done.
The backups put in an identical 38 points each for both teams. Tyler Zeller was really solid of the bench for Boston. He scored nine points in the first half on perfect shooting to give the Celtics a lift. He finished the game with 19 points and seven boards, easily his best game of the season.
Brandon Bass struggled mightily though. He missed his first five shots and only scored four points.
The Suns' potent scoring bench was held in check with the exeception of Alex Len. Len scored 19 points. Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green only combined to score 12 points.
This was a tough loss to take. The Celtics fought back against a good team, but just couldn't pull it out. Some sloppy defense and a few miscues down the stretch unfortunately sealed it for Phoenix.