The Boston Celtics have allowed early leads to slip away from them in the past, but that didn’t happen Friday night in Phoenix. They jumped on the Suns with a 13-0 run to begin the game and Boston never relinquished its lead.
Courtney Lee opened the game up with two points on a jump shot just 18 seconds in to get the C’s rolling. Brandon Bass put home a layup after a turnover by Luis Scola and Lee scored the next two points on another jumper. Boston forced another turnover on Phoenix’s next possession, this time by Goran Dragic, and Avery Bradley put home a layup to put the C’s on top 8-0.
The men in green and white were dominating at that point but they were just warming up. The true dominance began moments later, when the man named Green joined in on the party.
Jeff Green, starting in place of the resting Kevin Garnett, scored his first two points of the night by converting on a pretty reverse layup as he was fouled with 9:04 remaining in the first quarter. He tacked on the free throw to make it 11-0 Celtics. Boston then forced the Suns into yet another turnover at the other end of the court before Green canned a smooth, step-back jumper from 15 feet out on Boston's ensuing possession.
The Celtics were on top 13-0 at that point and Green was just getting started. He and the Celtics dominated the remainder of the game, as the forward finished with a season-high 31 points while the Celtics grabbed a 113-88 victory.
Blowing out out an NBA team from start to finish is one of the rarest feats we see accomplished in this league. However, with Green at the front of the troops, the Celtics finally made it happen Friday night in Phoenix.
Key Box Score Line
Doc Rivers decided hours before Friday night’s game in Phoenix that he was going to rest Kevin Garnett and leave the big man at the team’s hotel. Little did he know that Garnett’s replacement in the starting lineup would suddenly morph into an unstoppable force.
Jeff Green, who has been on a tear in February, tore the Suns apart on Friday. He scored a season-high 31 points while draining 11 of his 14 field goal attempts. And no, they weren’t all layups. Green hit three of his five 3-pointers, six of his seven free throws, and swished home several jumpers throughout the course of the game.
If you think Green succeeded only in the scoring column, you are wrong. He grabbed seven rebounds, which were more than every player not names Chris Wilcox. He tied for the team high in assists with four. He blocked a career-high five shots. Green did it all, and he did it with grace.
Rivers gambled when he decided to rest KG during a two-game losing streak. Green made sure he and the Celtics won.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics scored as many points (113) as they gave up to the Lakers on Wednesday.
- Jeff Green blocked a career-high five shots.
- Green also scored a season-high 31 points on 11-for-14 shooting.
- Despite playing without Kevin Garnett, the Celtics outrebounded the Suns 46-40.
- Green finished with the game's best plus/minus rating, at plus-26.
- Goran Dragic logged the game's only double-double with 19 points and 10 assists.
- Only three Suns scored in double-figures.
- Chris Wilcox scored a season-high 14 points and also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
- Boston shot 55.7 percent, while Phoenix shot just 41.7 percent.
- In his first game with the Celtics, Jordan Crawford logged 10 points, three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes of action.
- Terrence Williams, in his second game with the Celtics, logged nine points, four rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes.
- The Celtics scored at least 25 points in all four quarters.
- Boston's largest lead was 30 points.
- Each team scored at least 46 points in the paint.
Quote of the Night
He's a matchup nightmare. At [small forward] he can post you, at [power forward] he has speed, and when he's making his jumper like he was making it today, it's pretty much a tough night for whoever's guarding him. Doc Rivers on Jeff Green