The Boston Celtics trailed for nearly the entirety of Saturday night’s matchup with the Phoenix Suns. That, however, does not mean they didn’t have a chance to win.
Boston had a great chance at pulling off a comeback from what was once a 16-point deficit. It just didn’t succeed in its attempt.
Early on in the fourth quarter, Gordon Hayward made back-to-back plays that pulled the Celtics to within five points with 9:12 remaining in the game. That moment felt like their chance.
Hayward first backed up from the top of the 3-point arc and asked for a screen from his big man, but then realized that the shot clock was about to expire. As such, he pulled up and let one fly from 28 feet out and canned it shortly before the shot clock expired.
Next, just 20 seconds later, Hayward hauled in a rebound and threw an outlet pass to Enes Kanter, who tossed in a hook shot to make it a five-point game.
That was Boston’s real chance. Yes, they also had a chance during the final minute, but that was a desperation situation. This portion of the game early on in the fourth quarter was when the Celtics could have made it a real game or even taken control of the game.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.
Instead, Boston missed its next three shots while Phoenix made its next two, both of which were 3-pointers. Those baskets pushed the Suns’ lead back up to 11. That lead grew to as many as 14 points and remained there as the game entered the final three and a half minutes.
Boston scored 11 straight points from the 2:04 mark to the 1:00 mark, but it was unable to complete the improbable comeback during the final minute.
Marcus Smart must have felt some kind of way heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Suns, because he let it fly early and often.
And he hit early and often, too.
Smart set a new franchise record by canning 11 3-pointers on the night, becoming just the 11th player in NBA history to make that many treys in a single game. Smart shot 11-for-22 overall from long distance.
The breakdown of his 3-point attempts by quarter is as follows: 3-for-7 during the first quarter, 3-for-3 during the second quarter, 1-for-4 during the third quarter, and 4-for-8 during the fourth quarter.
Smart also set a new career high with 37 points, which went along with his team-best eight assists, his game-high four steals, and his five rebounds.
Box Score Nuggets
- Devin Booker (39 points) and Marcus Smart (37 points) led their respective teams in scoring.
- Smart set a new franchise record with 11 made 3-pointers.
- Booker also tallied 10 rebounds and nine assists to nearly capture a triple-double.
- Jayson Tatum logged a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
- Deandre Ayton logged a monster double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds.
- Booker and Ricky Rubio tied for the game high in assists with six apiece.
- Phoenix's bench scored only 11 total points.
- Boston made more 3-pointers (15 to 13), but Phoenix made more free throws (26 to 20).
- Smart led the Celtics in assists with seven, and led the game in steals with four.
- Both teams blocked six shots.
- Both teams made 42 field goals.
- Gordon Hayward totaled 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Quote of the Night
This will be a good stretch when we look back on it, because it will force improvement. It'll force urgency on every detail. It'll force you to do your job for 48 minutes..
Brad Stevens on Boston's tough stretch