The Suns? Or the Stuns.
After a horrid 4-24 start to the season, the Phoenix Suns recorded their fourth consecutive win against the Boston Celtics 111-103 at TD Garden.
The Celtics stepped into the game without center Al Horford due to injury. Aron Baynes started the game but after just two minutes in, an attempt to block a pass led to a fracture (lower bone of the ring finger) which took him off the court. The Celtics’ lead in the first quarter had quickly diminished in the absence of big-men to guard the paint, with rookie Robert Williams left as the only traditional center. Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye rotated with Williams on the five position.
This injury set-back left the Celtics vulnerable under the rim and rebounds became a major problem as the game progressed.
The Suns capitalized by attacking the paint (44 points against Celtics’ 34) and grabbed significantly more offensive rebounds (21 to 9).
Kyrie Irving’s game-high 29 points and ten assists was not matched by his teammates, particularly swing-man Jaylen Brown who went 3 for 9 shooting, contributing only six points.
“I think it started after the first quarter,” Irving said. “They just picked up their aggressiveness and they were pretty much in rhythm for the rest of the night.”
Devin Booker led the Suns’ with 25 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds. Rookie DeAndre Ayton finished strong with 23 points (10-of-14 shots made) and 18 rebounds together with T.J Warren’s 21 points.
The 22-year-old Booker also put up a historic 70-point performance against Boston last year, breaking Suns record for PPG and being the youngest player to score past 60.
The Suns however, had their bench to thank after a combined +/- of 45. The recently acquired Kelly Oubre Jr. put up 13 points and 6 rebounds in his first game for the Arizona team while forward Josh Jackson had 11 points and 5 rebounds.
“We had multiple conversations when we were losing early in the year,” Booker added. “We looked around the locker room and said, `Nobody’s going to feel bad for us.”Leave a comment