Ford Keys to the Game: Suns 79, Celtics 71
Suns 79, Celtics 71
The Boston Celtics were so dominant over the first 10 minutes of the third quarter of tonight’s game against the Suns that they turned an 11-point halftime deficit into a three-point advantage. Boston jumped out to that lead thanks to a steady offense and shutdown defense.
This would normally be the time for a 5-9 team such as the Suns to crack, fold or crumble to the parquet floor. However, Phoenix showed great resolve and instead turned the tide on Boston, and quickly.
Jared Dudley, a former Boston College standout, led the charge by scoring four straight points in the span of about 20 seconds to turn the Celtics’ three-point lead into a one-point deficit. Kevin Garnet then missed a layup for Boston and Shannon Brown put home an easy layup at the other end to bump Phoenix’s lead up to three. Boston missed again on its next shot and Steve Nash wound up closing out the quarter’s scoring with two free throws after E’Twaun Moore fouled him.
Prior to that quick spurt by the Suns over the final two minutes of the quarter, they had scored just six points in the frame. They scored eight points in the final 1:56 alone.
Boston had Phoenix on the ropes heading into the final minutes of the third but it couldn’t deliver the knockout punch that it gave to the Raptors on Wednesday night. Instead, the Celtics allowed the Suns to stem the tide, turn things around and eventually take a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.
Key Box Score Line
If you’ve never been introduced to Marcin Gortat, you, along with Boston’s frontline, sure got to know him tonight.
Phoenix’s starting center was a dominant force throughout tonight’s game and posted the only double-double of the night. He put on a clinic in the first quarter, tallying 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with four boards. By the end of the night, Gortat had increased those numbers to game highs of 24 points and 12 boards.
Gortat was a dominant force throughout the game and made double the amount of field goals (10) than any Celtic player. His 12 rebounds were also double that of Boston’s top performance on the glass, which was six by both Brandon Bass and Ray Allen.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston did not score more than 20 points in a single quarter.
- The Celtics nearly shot as well from 3-point range (40.0 percent) as they did from the field (40.5 percent).
- Starting for the injured Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley recorded 10 points and three steals.
- Marcin Gortat finished with game highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds.
- Paul Pierce led the Celtics in assists for the second straight game with six dimes.
- Phoenix outrebounded Boston 44-32.
- Boston took only nine free throws in the game, making seven.
- The Celtics had more players (five) score in double-figures than the Suns (three) but still lost.
- Phoenix committed 23 turnovers that led to 21 points for Boston.
- Ray Allen led the Celtics in scoring (14 points) and rebounding (six rebounds).
- There were only eight total fast break points scored in the game.
- Boston's biggest lead of the game was three, there were three lead changes, and there were three ties.
- Allen committed a game-high five turnovers.
- Steve Nash attempted only six shots and finished with 11 points and nine assists.