Celtics continue swing in Phoenix
(Sports Network) – The Pacific Division-leading Phoenix Suns welcome the
NBA-worst Boston Celtics tonight to US Airways Center.
This is the second and final meeting of the campaign between the squads. On
December 8th, Shawn Marion poured in 29 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and scored
Phoenix’s last four points to lead the Suns to a 116-111 victory over the
Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden.
Boston has lost three of five and seven of its last 10 at Phoenix. The Suns
have won three in a row in the series.
Phoenix has lost three in a row on its homecourt. Reigning MVP Steve Nash
scored 13 points and dished out 12 assists before spending a large chunk of
the second half enjoying his return to the lineup from the bench, as the Suns
cruised to a 115-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples
Nash missed four games with a sore right shoulder, then didn’t play in
Sunday’s All-Star Game. He was a solid 5-of-11 from the floor and committed
All-Stars Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire were the recipients of Nash’s
assists, finishing with 31 and 22 points respectively. Both players also
grabbed nine rebounds for the Suns, who outrebounded the Clippers, 50-38, and
snapped a three-game skid.
On the injury front for Phoenix, Boris Diaw (back spasms) is doubtful for
tonight’s game. Diaw, who is averaging 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.2
assists this season, has missed the last three contests.
The Suns are an impressive 20-6 at home this season. After tonight’s contest,
they will embark on a four-game road trip. Phoenix will visit Minnesota,
Atlanta, Indiana and Philadelphia.
Boston plays the second of a five-game road trip. On Tuesday, Kevin Martin
scored 22 points as the Sacramento Kings held off a late Boston rally to beat
the Celtics, 104-101, at ARCO Arena.
Paul Pierce had 26 points in the loss to the Kings for Boston, which was back
to its old tricks in the first game after the All-Star break. The Celtics
ended a franchise-record 18-game losing streak with a victory against
Milwaukee last Wednesday, but couldn’t overcome the Kings and lost their ninth
straight on the road.
Delonte West finished with 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the
Celtics, but his three-point shot at the buzzer came up short.
The Celtics, whose victory as the visitor was on January 5th against Memphis
at the FedExForum, are 8-18 on the road this season. They will also visit the
Lakers, Utah and Houston on the current swing.