Suns-Celtics Game Preview
Channing Frye's second straight game-winning shot kept the Phoenix Suns surging toward playoff position in the Western Conference.
Frye was also a major factor in the Suns' first meeting of the season with the Boston Celtics - but for an entirely different reason than timely offense.
Frye and the Suns head to TD Garden for Wednesday night's rematch of their physical January victory over the Celtics - their third straight win in the series.
After hitting a jumper as time expired to beat Indiana 110-108 in overtime Sunday, Frye stepped up again Monday in a thrilling 104-103 OT win over New Jersey. His 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining in the extra period lifted Phoenix to its season-best fifth road victory in a row.
"This is extremely humbling," he said. "To be honest I'm not really nervous about the last-second shot. We got a win that we really needed. We just need to play better at the end of the games."
Phoenix, though, has played well enough to win 11 of 14 and move into contention for a playoff berth. The Suns have won four in a row overall - one shy of tying their season high - and extended their longest road win streak of the season to five Sunday.
Phoenix is 3-0 on its six-game trip.
Frye came in having averaged 20.0 points and 48.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc in his previous six games, but was held to seven against the Nets.
He also didn't produce much against Boston on Jan. 28, scoring five points and going 1 of 7 from the field, but he certainly made an impact. The Celtics' Kevin Garnett was involved in two confrontations with Suns players in the contest, the second coming when he reached out and struck Frye in the groin area late in the fourth quarter.
After falling, Frye went back at Garnett and the two bumped faces and needed to be separated. Garnett was hit with two technical fouls and ejected, while Frye and now-former Celtics Nate Robinson and Kendrick Perkins also received technicals.
Frye said afterward that Garnett's action wasn't "an appropriate play to make." Phoenix, however, was on its way to holding the Celtics to a season-low point total in an 88-71 victory, which began its 11-3 surge.
The Suns took the last matchup at TD Garden 110-103 on Nov. 6, 2009.
Boston (43-15) has also been hot of late, winning five of six. The Celtics defeated Utah 107-102 on Monday behind some clutch late-game play of their own, as Ray Allen made a key jumper with just under a minute left.
"It's a privilege to be able to play with a guy like that," forward Paul Pierce said of Allen, who finished with 25 points. "You watch him down the stretch, and it's something beautiful."
Allen, though, has struggled during Boston's three-game skid to Phoenix, averaging 13.0 points.
The Celtics, leading the league in scoring defense at 91.3 points allowed, will face a Suns team that averages 104.7 on the road - among the most in the NBA.
Phoenix is 1-10 away from home when it scores fewer than 100 points.
Boston reportedly added Troy Murphy on Tuesday after the 6-foot-11 forward was bought out by Golden State last week. His status for Wednesday's game is uncertain.
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