Game Preview: Celtics at Suns
Already impressing many as a surprise playoff contender, the Phoenix Suns look even more formidable led by Gerald Green and Goran Dragic's spectacular play of late.
The backcourt duo will try to stay hot and help the Suns to their third win in four games Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics.
Phoenix currently occupies the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference, ahead of more vaunted clubs like Golden State and Memphis. Green has been a solid boost to the Suns' potent offense, contributing 14.6 points per game while shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range.
He's elevated his play to a different level over his last three games, however, averaging 29.0 points while shooting 58.8 percent - including 13 of 26 from beyond the arc. He had scored 25 points or more twice this season before doing so in each of his last three contests.
Green poured in a career-best 36 in Tuesday's 112-107 overtime win at Denver. He finished a highlight-worthy alley-oop over Kenneth Faried early in the first quarter, was 6 of 14 from beyond the arc and scored eight points in the extra period - yet likely missed out on an even bigger night due to foul trouble.
Green was limited to nine points in the first half while playing just 8:41 as he was charged with three fouls.
"We told Gerald if he wasn't fouling so much, he might have had 50," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "When Gerald gets on those rolls, he's big for us because he can make those shots. He's not afraid to take shots when the game was on the line. He made a couple of big ones for us."
Dragic, who averages a team-best 20.3 points, scored 21 and added 14 assists - including seven on baskets by Green - for his sixth double-double. He's averaging 24.9 points on 57.4 percent shooting over his last nine games.
The Celtics are opening a four-game trip and could resemble a dramatically different team afterward depending on trade deadline activity. Reports say numerous teams are interested in point guard Rajon Rondo, but it remains to be seen whether Boston will entertain any offers.
Boston is 4-18 against Western Conference clubs, losing 11 of its last 12 matchups after a 104-92 home loss to San Antonio last Wednesday. Rondo scored 16, while a sprained right ankle sidelined Avery Bradley for the eighth time in 11 contests.
The Celtics are 3-5 without Bradley, who will miss the road trip according to the club's Twitter feed.
Jeff Green is averaging 29.5 points while shooting 67.7 percent in his last two games at Phoenix. He's also scored at least 29 in three of his last four road games overall.
Boston has won three of the last four meetings.