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Celtics brighten up their East-best record with a 99-85 win over the Suns

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Boston recovered from their loss against Sacramento with a strong bounce-back effort.

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics traveled to Phoenix for the 3rd game of their West-coast road trip, and they’ll be flying out with a 99-85 win under their belt. They were led by Jayson Tatum’s 26 and 11. Devin Booker had 20 points for Phoenix.

After a lackluster performance against the Kings last night, Jayson Tatum battled early foul trouble to emerge with a double-double. Notably, Tatum finished with 9 free-throw attempts. Kemba Walker joined the party with a moderate explosion in the 3rd, chipping in 19 points on the game. Walker was a game-high +22.

This was Boston’s first look at Aron Baynes after he was a necessary casualty in order to bring Kemba Walker to Boston. Baynes has had an unreal start to the season as Phoenix’s starting center after DeAndre Ayton’s suspension, and he performed decently against his former team. He posted 9 points and 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

Ricky Rubio was unable to suit up despite going through warmups due to back spasms, and this was his first missed game of the year. Jevon Carter started in his place.

The Celtics started the game super sloppily, but they found their stride toward the end of the first quarter. Although Jayson Tatum pickup up two quick fouls, his activity on defense gave the Celtics the boost they needed to take the lead.

The Celtics really took off when Grant Williams (4 points, +18) checked in halfway through the second quarter. He was tremendous, providing defensive highlights almost every possession. From this:

...to this:

...and so much more. After getting a DNP last night in Sacramento, Grant Williams made his case for a rotation spot consistently moving forward.

Tatum and Walker really stood out in the third quarter to keep Boston’s momentum going. Early in the fourth, Marcus Smart fell to the ground grabbing his knee. The Celtics are calling it a right ankle sprain, and he was kept out for the remainder of the game. Smart finished with 17 points, 4 assists and a +18. Check back soon for more updates on Smart’s status moving forward.

The Celtics – tied for an NBA-best 11-2 record – will travel to L.A. to take on the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night at 10:30 PM EST on ESPN.