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Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns

Boston return home looking to get back in the winners column against the Phoenix Suns.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns and Jamal Crawford come into the game after tallying a career-high 14 assists as the team won their third straight game. Newly acquired Kelly Oubre Jr. will be available for coach Igor Kokoskov following a uncertain week and a trade saga centred around Trevor Ariza, a few players with the last name Brooks and the Washington Wizards. Guard Austin Rivers, was waived shortly after the trade and will become a free agent.

Devin Booker, another member of the ever growing Celtics destroyers, posted 38 points, on 11-23 from the field in 37 minutes against the Knicks, Monday in New York. T.J. Warren also chipped in 26 points while Rookie big man Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 13 rebounds. After posting the win, Phoenix moved to 7-24 on the season and gained only their second win on the road, they are currently 2-13.

All eyes will be on Devin Booker, who has torched the Celtics in recent history, tallying 38, 38 and 70 points in his last 3 outings. With Marcus Smart now embedded in the starting lineup, Booker will be presented with a different look and a tenacious backcourt defender. On the flip side, De’Anthony Melton will be tasked with sticking with Kyrie Irving who had his own 39 points in the overtime win at Phoenix on November 9, 2018.

Boston‘s eight-game winning streak may have ended in Detroit, however the starting backcourt Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart still went for a combined 47 points last Saturday night. Boston will be hoping to get a better spread of performances back home, as the Celtics team shot a dismal 41.5% from the field. Despite the impressive run the team enjoyed over the last few weeks, it is worth noting 14 of the last 15 Celtics opponents hold sub .500 records.

Al Horford who missed Saturday night’s loss in Detroit has once again been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Suns. With Horford out, look for Aron Baynes to match up on Deandre Ayton and keeping Ayton off the glass will be a priority for the C’s as the former Arizona Wildcat leads the Suns in rebounds per contest at 10.2 per game. Jaylen Brown was questionable earlier but now upgraded to available tonight after suffering a right hand contusion.

Brad Stevens will be looking for a win tonight with one eye on the talented Milwaukee Bucks who travel to Boston on Friday night. The Celtics schedule packs in a ton of home games from now until the end of January, and they will be looking to keep pace with the top teams of the East.

Update: Marcus Morris Sr. has now been ruled out, Brad Stevens is likely to make a game time decision on his replacement.


Projected Starters

PG - Kyrie IrvingDe’Anthony Melton

SG – Marcus SmartDevin Booker

SF – Jayson TatumMikal Bridges

PF – Semi OjeleyeT.J. Warren

C – Aron BaynesDeandre Ayton

Injuries

Boston – Al Horford (Knee); Guerschon Yabusele (Ankle), Marcus Morris Sr. (Knee)

Phoenix – none

How to Watch

Time – 7:30 PM EST

TV – NBC Sports Boston