Boston Celtics defeat a pesky Phoenix Suns 116-111
Whatever happened, the Boston Celtics weren't going to play the Phoenix Suns the way they did last March.
That matchup saw Devin Booker drop a career-high 70 points on the Celts, setting a franchise record for the Suns despite losing the game 130-120, leaving Boston smarting a bit despite going home with the win. This one, however, threatened to spark another such game for Booker, as he and the Suns jumped out to an early lead in the first, but Kyrie Irving and Al Horford answered back early, followed by Jaylen Brown and Aron Baynes, the former giving Boston it's biggest lead of the quarter at 27-19 with about two left in the frame.
A pair of buckets by Morris put Boston up 32-22 to close the quarter, but Booker and Josh Jackson chipped away at the lead early in the second, cutting the lead to five with ten left in the half. Greg Monroe brought it to a one-possession game, but a Marcus Smart trey beat back the surge by the Suns for a bit.
Booker began to catch fire again as the half wound down, cutting the lead back to three from the charity stripe with about three minutes left in the first half, and then to just one after scoring an and-one on Smart. Both teams would trade a flurry of buckets in the final moments of the half, but the Celts went into halftime possessing a six-point lead on a Morris triple off an Irving dish.
Booker and Jackson continued chipping away at the lead as the third opened, with a layup by Tyler Ulis cutting the lead to just one with just under ten to play in the third, but Horford and Irving beat them back once again before TJ Warren got on the board, and Booker hit a trey on their next possession to give the Suns their first lead of the game at 65-64.
The lead would bounce back and forth, however, as Tyson Chandler sent Irving to the line for a three-second violation where he tied up the game, and Chandler made up the mistake with a dunk on the other end. The lead would change hands several times over the next few possessions until back-to-back treys from Smart and Morris would give the Cs a cushion, extended by Jayson Tatum and Morris to close the third 89-79 Boston on a Smart jam.
The fourth looked like Boston might run away with it, opening behind a pair of buckets from Smart and Morris, but the Suns fought their way back behind makes by Mike James and Booker with help by Chandler and Warren, cutting the lead to two with just minutes to play. Irving, Tatum and Smart closed out like old pros, however, and took home the win, 116-111.
The Celtics next play the Milwaukee Bucks at home at 6:30 pm, December fourth.