Final: Celtics win, 87-79: Boston won its fourth straight thanks to another fantastic effort from the bench. Doc Rivers got 47 of the team’s 87 points off the bench, with Sullinger, Terry and Green each scoring at least 12 in 25-plus minutes. This game was prone to long runs, but sturdy defense and beastly rebounding proved the difference for the home team. The Celtics play their next four games at the TD Garden.
Fourth quarter, 3:21, Celtics lead, 82-73: Sullinger is playing possessed. The rookie has 15 rebounds, smashing his previous career-high of 11, and has clearly gotten into the head of Luis Scola. Scola picked up his fourth foul when he got a little aggressive after Sullinger came down with a defensive board. Celtics should wrap this one up, barring some unforeseen incident, as Larry David would write.
Fourth quarter, 8:45, Celtics lead, 74-66: The fans here just seem to love Jason Terry. Terry drove down on transition, dished to Courtney Lee, then backed up behind the 3-point line. Lee passed it right back, Terry drained the trey and the Garden erupted. Lee then made a nice steal on the defensive end and turned it into two points.
Third quarter, 2:14, Celtics lead 63-60: Rondo finally broke a 17-0 Suns run with a jumper, but it was Sullinger who helped the Celtics regain the lead with a pair of big rebounds and a defensive stop. Sullinger has made his presence felt in 20 minutes of playing time thus far.
Third quarter, 8:31, Celtics lead, 55-52: Celtics looking lazy again, this time caught ball-watching on defense as the Suns passed the ball around with ease before finding Marcin Gortat inside. The Suns are on an 11-0 run.
Halftime, Celtics lead, 53-41: Story of the first half: turnovers. Six different Celtics have collected at least one steal as the Suns have turned the ball over 10 times. The Celtics have just four turnovers. Green has 10 points and a plus-13 point differential when he’s been on the floor. Sullinger has 8 points and six rebounds with a plus-17 point differential.
Second quarter, 1:13, Celtics lead 51-41: Rondo and Dudley got into it on an inbound pass, as Rondo set him self up against Dudley’s chest before bouncing off to make himself open. Dudley didn’t like it, and as Rondo raced down the court with the ball, Dudley gave him a good shove. The officials originally called it a flagrant foul, but took away the flagrant tag after review. Rondo has six assists in the first half.
Second quarter, 4:14, Celtics lead 47-35: The Celtics are on a 14-2 run thanks to some hustle plays by … ? Bradley and Green, of course. Green is all over the place this quarter as he hasn’t come off the court. Rondo with a couple nice assists.
Second quarter, 8:43, Celtics lead, 31-29: Aside from a pair of alley-oops, the Celtics have played about eight straight minutes of solid defense. Jared Sullinger playing his usual game, full of physicality, as he already picked up a pair of fouls. But he’s also three for three from the floor.
First quarter complete, Suns lead, 24-23: Jason Terry gave the Celtics a nice spark off the bench, hitting a pair of deep jumpers and faking another before dishing a no-look pass to Brandon Bass, who drained an 18-footer. Solid finish to the first quarter with a 14-9 run, but they’ll need to contain Dudley better going forward.
First quarter, 6:46, Suns lead, 14-9: Suns on an 8-0 run. Jared Dudley has scored back-to-back buckets on transition, simply by out-hustling the Celtics back to their defensive end.
First quarter, 10:11, Celtics lead, 6-4: Avery Bradley is bringing the energy, as usual. Bradley sunk an 18-foot jumper to put the Celtics on the board, then leaped over a pair of Suns defenders for an offensive rebound, which he finished with a lay-up.
After serving a one-game suspension, Rajon Rondo is back in the Celtics’ starting lineup as they host the skidding Suns.