Keys to the Game: Celtics 99, Suns 85

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

Kemba Walker’s driving layup at the buzzer of the first half capped a dominant run by Boston that gave the C’s a lead heading into halftime that they never relinquished.

Boston scored 15 of the final 17 points of the half over the final 4:29 to take a commanding 57-42 lead. The advantage never dropped to fewer than nine points from there on out.

The best aspect of the run was that five different Celtics contributed to it with scoring. Walker and Jayson Tatum led the way with four apiece, Marcus Smart scored three from the free-throw line, and Jaylen Brown and Grant Williams each contributed two.

All five of Boston’s buckets during the 15-2 spurt were layups, which is an indication of just how well the team was clicking at that end of the court.

Meanwhile, defensively, the Celtics were outstanding during the game-changing run. Phoenix managed to score only two points during the final 4:55 of the half while shooting 0-for-7 from the field and committing two turnovers. Boston’s defense was swarming, and its ability to get consistent stops aided the its ability to get consistent buckets on offense.

That combination led to the Celtics taking control of the game, which spilled over to the second half. The C’s would go on to pull ahead by as many as 21 points as they coasted to a 99-85 win.

Key Player

Jayson Tatum didn’t even need the fourth quarter to put up his best statistical night of the season Monday in Phoenix.

Tatum, who did not appear during the fourth quarter of a blowout win over the Suns, still managed to record season highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds during the win. Both of those numbers also led the game. Tatum also contributed three assists and a steal.

Monday’s performance stands as Tatum’s second double-double of the season. The first was recorded on Opening Night, when he tallied 21 points and 10 rebounds against Philadelphia.

He was very good during that matchup with the Sixers, but this performance Monday night was certainly his best of the season.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Jayson Tatum recorded game highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Tatum and Daniel Theis tied for the game high in rebounds with 11 apiece.
  • Kemba Walker led the game with a plus-22 in the plus/minus category.
  • The teams combined to commit 36 turnovers, 19 by Phoenix and 17 by Boston.
  • Walker (19), Tatum (16) and Jaylen Brown (16) each took at least 16 shots, while no member of the Suns took more than 13.
  • Grant Williams was a plus-18 in 18 minutes of action.
  • Devin Booker led the Suns with 20 points.
  • Boston led by as many as 21 points.
  • Brad Wanamaker tallied 10 points, a game-high six assists and three steals off of Boston's bench. He was the only reserve in the game to score more than eight points

Quote of the Night

Jayson Tatum on Grant Williams