Notebook: Celtics 87, Suns 79



Posted Jan 10, 2013 12:02 AM

By Brian Robb, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Jared Sullinger had 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, helping the Boston Celtics grind their way to a 87-79 victory over the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night. It was the fourth straight win for the Celtics (18-17), largely thanks to another feisty defensive performance as Boston limited the Suns to just 39-percent shooting on the evening, and a 2-for-12 night from beyond the arc. Offensively, the Celtics' bench carried a balanced team effort, as Jeff Green scored a team-high 14 points, while nine players had six or more points for Boston. Luis Scola had a game-high 16 points for the Suns (12-25), who have dropped four straight and 10 of their past 11 games.

QUOTABLE: "The whole bench, I just thought their energy in both halves were terrific. It's nice when your starters are all not playing well, and your bench wins the game for you."

-- Celtics coach Doc Rivers

THE STAT: The Suns shot a mere 16.7 percent in the fourth quarter (3-for-18), as the Celtics defense closed the door on the Suns attempt to rally from 14-point second half deficit.

TURNING POINT: After a sluggish start to the second half by Boston's starters, the team's second unit -- along with Kevin Garnett -- regained command of the game with a 13-2 run, capped by back-to-back baskets from Green. The outburst extended Boston's lead to 12 points, allowing them to cruise to the win down the stretch.

QUOTABLE II: "I can't put it into words. I mean, it's a wonderful day. I had a good game, I'm just glad to be here."

-- Jeff Green on his emotions playing on the one-year anniversary of his open-heart surgery

HOT: Jason Terry -- the slumping Terry was happy to return to the friendly confines of the TD Garden Wednesday night. After shooting just 28.5 percent in the first four games of 2013, Terry bounced back, hitting 6-for-8 shots, while filling up the stat sheet with five rebounds and five assists.

NOT: P.J. Tucker --the versatile forward could not find his rhythm against the hosts, shooting 4-for-12 from the field to finish with nine points over 40 minutes in his fifth career start.

QUOTABLE III: "We've got to get better at it. We've got to dig ourselves out of this. No one feels sorry for you in the NBA. It's got to be us with the execution, doing the right things."

-- Alvin Gentry on his team's road struggles

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Sullinger -- Boston's first round pick continues to get more minutes on the floor, as Rivers and his teammates have started to trust the rookie with more responsibility. The 20 year old has responded to the additional playing time with more production, putting together his second double-double of the season against the Suns. Over the past nine games, the rookie is averaging 9 ppg and 8.9 rpg, a dramatic jump from his season average.

NOTABLE: Rajon Rondo returned after his one-game suspension for bumping a referee and not cooperating with the league investigation. He scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds in 30 minutes. ...The Suns have lost 11 consecutive road games. They are now 2-16 on the road for the season. ...Washington natives Terry and Bradley were excited when asked about the prospect of a team returning to Seattle. ...Garnett (10 points) was the only Celtics starter to score in double figures. ...Sullinger's 16 rebounds were the most by a Celtics player this year. ...Phoenix held Boston scoreless for nearly the entire first six minutes of the third quarter.

UP NEXT: For Phoenix, Friday @ Brooklyn, Saturday @ Chicago, Monday vs. Oklahoma City. For Boston, Friday vs. Houston, Monday vs. Charlotte, Wednesday vs. New Orleans.