BOSTON (AP) — Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart every scored 24 factors, and the Boston Celtics stopped a three-game slide by topping the Phoenix Suns 123-108 on Friday.
Brown additionally grabbed 11 rebounds and Smart completed with eight assists, serving to the Celtics bounce again from a 91-82 residence loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night time. Robert Williams had 10 factors, 10 assists and 11 rebounds, and Josh Richardson added 19 factors.
The Celtics have been with out main scorer Jayson Tatum, who was positioned on the well being and security protocols checklist early within the week, however Smart returned and the offense responded by capturing 54%. Seven gamers scored in double figures.
“We played some great basketball down the stretch,” Brown stated. “We played with a nice flow and a nice identity. It made the game so much easier.”
Devin Booker scored 22 points for Phoenix, and Cam Johnson had 20. Jalen Smith scored 19 and Chris Paul finished with 14 points and eight assists.
The Suns remained without starters Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder, who missed their third straight game because of health and safety protocols. Coach Monty Williams was also on the protocol list for the third game in a row.
The Suns (27-8), who entered with the top record in the NBA, lost for the third time in four games.
Kevin Young, who is coaching Phoenix while Williams remains out, said the Suns weren’t physical enough to keep the Celtics from rolling early.
“I thought the biggest difference was we got much more physical in the second half. They were the more physical team in the first. Some of those cuts, we just let them go where they wanted to go,” Young stated.
Boston (17-19) was coming off a dreadful capturing efficiency, making simply 4 of 42 3-pointers towards the Clippers.
The Celtics jumped all around the Suns, capturing 58% within the first half and main by as a lot as 30 factors. Boston closed out the primary quarter on an 18-6 run and outscored Phoenix 35-21 within the second interval, taking a 67-41 lead into halftime.
“To be down 30, it has to be a little bit of both — not defending and stagnant offense,” Booker stated. “They were switching actions, which slowed us down, and getting easy layups and wide-open 3s to start the game.”
Boston made 10 of 27 3-pointers within the New Year’s Eve matinee.
The Suns have been 3 for 15 on 3-pointers in first half. They began faring higher from exterior within the second half, nevertheless it was too late to make a lot of a dent in Boston’s lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Paul and Ish Wainright early within the fourth solely bought Phoenix again inside 15, nonetheless down 106-91.
Williams punctuated his first profession triple-double with 5 blocks, swatting away three pictures within the second half as the Suns tried to generate some offense inside.
Williams went 5 for five from the sphere and added two steals.
“When he comes out and plays basketball, there’s not a lot of people that can contain him on both ends. His effect on defense and offense tonight, everybody seen it,” Brown stated. “Rob had a great night tonight and deserves all the praise he gets.”
The Celtics held a moment of silence before the game in memory of Sam Jones, a Hall of Famer who died Thursday at age 88. Jones won 10 NBA titles with Boston — second only to teammate Bill Russell — and the Celtics retired his No. 24 in 1969 when he was still an active player.
“Sam Jones was one of the most talented, versatile, and clutch shooters for the most successful and dominant teams in NBA history,” the workforce stated in an announcement.
The recreation featured a rookie official in Tyler Mirkovich, considered one of three G League officers who made their NBA debuts Friday with officiating crews additionally depleted by COVID-19.
Suns: C JaVale McGee was additionally unavailable as a result of COVID-19 protocols and F/C Frank Kaminsky (proper knee) missed his twenty second straight recreation. … Booker was known as for a technical with 5 minutes left within the first quarter.
Celtics: Smart returned after lacking two video games with a minimize on his hand. … Boston used solely three reserves within the first half, and the trio of Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford and Payton Pritchard mixed for 32 factors. Langford completed with 16 factors and Pritchard scored 11 within the recreation. … Tatum missed his third straight recreation and remained on the protocol checklist with C Bruno Fernando, C Enes Freedom, G C.J. Miles, F Aaron Nesmith and G Dennis Schroder.
Suns: At Charlotte on Sunday night time.
Celtics: Host Orlando on Sunday night time.
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