Celtics 87, Suns 79
By Marc D'Amico, January 9, 2013

Key Moment

The Boston Celtics entered the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns with a minimal three-point cushion. Doc Rivers, who had seen his starters struggle all night long, decided to begin the fourth quarter with a different group of starters.

Kevin Garnett began the fourth quarter with four reserves around him. Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger completed the unique group.

Rivers’ decision to surround Garnett with those four reserves proved to be genius. The fivesome turned Boston’s 67-64 lead at the onset of the quarter into a 12-point advantage in a matter of just four minutes and 15 seconds.

Terry opened up the quarter with a 3-pointer just 27 seconds into the frame and Garnett put home a layup about a minute later. P.J. Tucker answered KG’s layup with one of his own, but Phoenix would not score again for more than three minutes. In the meantime, Lee, Garnett and Green combined for the next six points of the game. Green’s monster dunk off of a KG pass capped Boston’s 11-2 run to begin the fourth and that put the C’s on top 78-66.

Phoenix briefly climbed back to within six points later in the quarter but Boston never lost control. It retained a double-digit lead for the majority of the fourth and wound up with an 87-79 victory. The team’s opening-tip starters can give thanks to the fourth-quarter starters, because that group is the main reason why the C’s are on a season-best four-game winning streak.

Key Box Score Line

Is it safe to start considering Jared Sullinger as the steal of the 2012 NBA Draft? After tonight’s performance against the Phoenix Suns, you’d be crazy not to.

Sullinger logged career highs all over the box score. He reeled in a career-best 16 rebounds during a career-high 34-plus minutes of playing time. He made six of his 10 shots from the field and finished with a shiny plus/minus rating of plus-24.

The rookie out of Ohio State did pick up four fouls but they were whistled sporadically. He navigated his way through this game without ever being in true foul trouble and it paid off. This was the best game of his young career.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Boston's bench (47 points) outscored its starters (40 points).
  • Both teams had four players score in double-figures, however, all four Suns were starters, while three Celtics were reserves.
  • Jeff Green led the Celtics with 14 points and Luis Scola led the Suns with 16 points.
  • Fifty of Phoenix's 79 points were scored in the paint.
  • The Suns shot just 7-of-16 on second-chance opportunities.
  • Jared Sullinger grabbed a game-high and career-high 16 rebounds, including five at the offensive end.
  • Kevin Garnett led Boston's starters with 10 points.
  • No Celtics player attempted more than 11 shots.
  • Rajon Rondo's eight assists led the game.
  • Marcin Gortat blocked five shots, which matched Boston's team total.
  • Garnett was the only Celtics starter to finish with a positive plus/minus rating.
  • On the contrary, every Celtics reserve, with the exception of Leandro Barbosa (13 seconds of playing time) finished with a positive plus/minus rating.
  • Phoenix shot just 39.3 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from downtown.
  • Boston committed just 13 turnovers.

Quote of the Night

You know, I don’t know what I envisioned. I just knew we have a lot guys that I think can play. Doc Rivers' take on Boston's group of reserves