The Boston Celtics can be thankful they were playing the Phoenix Suns tonight because they had no business winning this game. The Celtics struggled all night long in every part of the game and pulled out a fun one 116-109 in overtime.
After speculation following back to back losses, Boston offered no assurances in the early going. The positive play and effort were limited to the fourth quarter and overtime period. Thank goodness the Suns did not think to foul Marcus Morris on his tying attempt.
After a cold first 36 minutes, the floodgates finally opened up. The buckets came in flurries down the stretch led by Kyrie Irving with 39 points on 13-28 shooting and Marcus Morris with a game-tying three with 0.6 seconds left on the clock.
Marcus Morris at the buzzer to tie it! Overtime we go! pic.twitter.com/cjYk6RyFC9— Ashley Nevel (@AshleyNevel) November 9, 2018
Boston started the night on a Kyrie three from their first possession and didn’t score again until the five-minute mark in the quarter. The team was ice cold from the field. The Celtics shot 4 of 22 in the first quarter, which is one of the worst quarters seen from this team. The only starter to score was Kyrie with six points. Boston trailed Phoenix 32-13 at the end of one.
In the second quarter, the Suns tried let the Celtics back in the game. They had numerous bad turnovers that gave Boston a chance to work on the deficit. Unfortunately, it didn’t matter because of the shooting woes which continued across the board. The story of the first three quarters was a fast break that came when Aron Baynes got a pass from Kyrie for an open layup, but the ball hung up on the rim and fell off leading to a Suns layup on the other end. Nothing went right.
Celtics shot 10-46 from the field scoring only 35 points in the second half. Kyrie was still the only scorer to score in this half. Suns led 55-35 at the break.
To start the second half, Marcus Smart got the nod over Tatum.
#Celtics change up the starting lineup a bit in the 2nd half: Irving, Smart, Brown, Hayward and Horford. Micah Shrewsberry told me, we’re just looking for 5 guys who’re gonna play hard... effort is non-negotiable.— Abby Chin (@tvabby) November 9, 2018
This could be an interesting development after Tatum seemed to be benched in this game for poor play and effort.
The Celtics woke up a bit with an offensive flurry by Jaylen Brown, who scored eight points in third quarter. After reaching rock bottom in the second quarter, Boston could only go improve, but the signs were scattered. Even with Kyrie catching fire during the quarter, the Celtics could just not get enough consistency all the way through to catch the Suns. After three, the Celtics still were behind 80-65.
The fourth quarter opened with a bit of urgency as Boston continued to chip away at the Phoenix lead. However, whenever they got close, the Suns would make a basket when it mattered. Devin Booker scored 12 of his 38 points, carrying Phoenix down the stretch.
The Celtics performance was lackluster until the very end. Then, Boston came racing back. All of the sudden Kyrie made it a one possession game with a three, and then after a Devin Booker turnover, and a layup after. Marcus Morris buried the game-tying three to send it to overtime.
In overtime, the teams traded blows back and forth, but Boston finally found their shooting. It was a great overtime performance that looked like the opposite of first 36 minutes.
The Celtics ended the game shooting 40.2% and 37.8% from three-point range. It was a cold night all around without anyone taking the game over. With these stats, the Suns did what they had to do to win this game.
The Celtics win tonight was only their second road win when trailing by 20+ points since 2013-14 (Brad Stevens' first season as head coach).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 9, 2018
They were 1-33 in such games under Stevens before tonight. pic.twitter.com/snVzXj87hv
Jaylen Brown contributed with 17 points and Marcus Morris had 17 points as well.
The Suns were led by Devin Booker with 38 points and TJ Warren with 29 points.
The Celtics have a quick turnaround to continue their road trip tomorrow against the Jazz at 9:30 on ESPN. Everyone will be tuning in to Gordon Hayward’s return to Utah.