The Celtics found themselves in a tough battle tonight in Phoenix but managed to squeak out a win, 102-99 to start their 5-game road trip on the west coast.
In the first half, the Celtics had their way with the Suns as they pounded them inside and took it to the basket at will. Evan Turner led all first half scorers with 15 points and 8 rebounds while Avery Bradley added 13 points of his own. Boston also was very active on the glass with 12 offensive rebounds in the first half. The Celts forced the Suns into 14 turnovers in the half which led to easy fast break points for the men in green. Kelly Olynyk also had a very strong half with 10 points off the bench.
Coming out of the half, the Suns turned things around and it was the Celtics who looked flat. Phoenix went on a 24-12 run to cut the lead to five and brought themselves back into the game. Boston looked lethargic on defense and weren't getting the same open looks that they got in the first half. The Suns came within a point of tying things up but Isaiah Thomas hit some big shots in the 3rd quarter to put the Celtics ahead 81-75 by the end of the third.
The Celtics and Suns both started out very slow offensively in the 4th quarter but early on, Boston controlled the pace with their team defense forcing the Suns into taking bad shots. For the Cs, Marcus Smart came up with some highlight worthy plays including another unbelievable offensive rebound in traffic which led to a Jerebko three. However, Phoenix wouldn't go away and with some great shots by Devin Booker, they made it a one point game with just over a minute remaining.
Neither team had success making shots in the final minute and after a Brandon Knight air-balled three, the Celts pulled ahead by three points after Smart nailed his free throws. Devin Booker got a layup on the other end and Boston was again forced to hit free throws in the closing seconds. Thomas hit 1 out of 2 on his free throws and with a chance to tie or take the lead Devin Booker had his shot blocked going to the basket by Evan Turner. Smart was then fouled and missed one of his free throws which gave Phoenix another chance to tie, but Teletovic couldn't get a shot off and Boston just managed to pull out a win in Phoenix.
For the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas led the game with 28 points. Avery Bradley and Evan Turner chipped in with 15 and 17 points respectively while Kelly Olynyk also came off the bench to contribute 16 points of his own. Boston also out rebounded Phoenix on the glass 49-44.
With their fourth win in a row, the Celtics (43-30) now head to Los Angeles with a Monday night matchup against the Clippers at the Staples Center. Tip-off is set for 10:30 P.M.
Image Credit: Boston Celtics Twitter/Getty Images
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Kevin Yazhari 3/27/2016 12:39:00 AM Tweet Edit