It was a rough night for the Boston Celtics against the team with the worst record in the NBA, as they fell to the Suns at home 111-103 . Kyrie Irving let the Celtics with 29-10-5-4. It was a story of rebounding for the Celtics, who were out rebounded badly in the contest, 56-37. Speaking of which, Sun’s rookie DeAndre Ayton was a big part of that, chipping in 18 rebounds to go with 23 points.
We’ll pick things up near the halfway point of the 4th quarter, where back to back Terry Rozier threes cut the Suns lead to seven. The Celtics got themselves to the line an impressive seven times in one minutes, but after the Suns own scoring, the Celtics were only able to cut the lead to six going into the final three minutes. The Suns blocked an Irving designed play out of the timeout, and were able to push the lead to eight after a miss by either team.
Marcus Smart hit a big three to keep the Celtics within five and in contact. Smart fouled TJ Warren shooting a three on the ensuing possession and Warren hit all three to bring it back to 8. Irving hit a wide open three to bring the game back to five, but Kelly Oubre matched his feat. After the ensuing score by Irving, the free throw game started and the game was largely over.
The biggest news of the game was Aron Baynes departing the game early in the first quarter with a hand injury following a dunk attempt. He did not return to the contest and Shams Charania of The Athletic had the bad news that he has broken his hand.
The void he left in the front court meant that the “Timelord” Rob Williams who found himself in an extended role early. Williams would finish with a season-high 24 minutes leading to an 8-8-5 line.
Great ball movement leads to the loud slam! pic.twitter.com/1AOa2j3YqY— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 20, 2018
The Celtics had another big first quarter, scoring 37 points in the first quarter, but defensive lapses became more and more frequent as the quarter continued. It would become a pattern before the game was over.
It was a less-inspiring opening to the second quarter, as the Suns put together 29-12 over the first eight minutes of the game to storm back to a six point lead. The Celtics finally stopped the bleeding in the dying minutes of the half, scoring 8 straight points via their former Duke superstars in Irving and Tatum, and the teams traded buckets down the stretch before a Hayward steal and assist led to a Smart three to enter the half 62-59.
The third quarter of the game was an utterly joyless affair in which the Suns outscored the Celtics by nine, 28-17. In watching the game live, I looked for a notable way to describe what happened, but none of the events that transpired would do the the truly mediocre experience justice. It was akin to holding a burnt pancake in your mouth for twelve minutes.
The Celtics will be back in action on Friday night at 8pm with their second big home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.