Talking Points: Suns 79, Celtics 71


Talking Points: Suns 79, Celtics 71

BOSTON There will come a time when Rajon Rondo will roam the sidelines, donning a well tailored suit as a head coach somewhere.

Now is not the time, not with the Celtics trying to fight back from a horrendous stretch of futility to start the lockout-shortened season.

But there he was, out for the night because of a sore wrist.

Rondo's replacement, Avery Bradley (10 points, four rebounds), did an admirable job filling in for him in the starting lineup.

It wasn't enough, as the Phoenix Suns (6-9) handed the Celtics a 79-71 loss.

Make a strong push. Give it away in the final minutes of the quarter.

For a Celtics team with such inconsistency to its play, this has been a relative constant with them most of the season.

Trailing 46-35 at the half, Boston (5-9) opened the third with an 18-4 run to take the lead following a 3-pointer by Mickael Pietrus - a member of the C's only because the Suns waived him in December.

But like so many runs by the C's this year, a weak finish wiped out a lot of their good play in the quarter.

Boston led 55-52, but the Suns closed out the third with an 8-0 run to regain the lead and just as important, control of the game.

it was a similar script in the fourth, as Boston cut the Suns lead down to five points but failed to make the necessary plays - again - to get a win.

The need for a second half surge was because, once again, the C's fell behind early.

But the early deficit had little to do with two-time league MVP Steve Nash, Grant Hill or the usual suspects.

It was Marcin Gortat doing what he does better than anyone in the NBA this season - make shots.

He came into the game shooting an NBA-best 60.4 percent from the field.

In the first half, he had a stretch in which he scored 12 straight, and tallied 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting by the half. He finished with a game-high 24 points to go with 12 rebounds which was also tops among all players.

Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls


Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls

BOSTON – Change is an inevitable when it comes to NBA rosters.

Just as the Boston Celtics significantly altered the outlook many had for them this season by signing Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, they face a Chicago Bulls team tonight that has also undergone significant change.

The Bulls traded away one favorite son (Derrick Rose) and went about adding another in Dwyane Wade.

In addition to Wade, Chicago also signed former Celtic All-Star Rajon Rondo to join a team headlined by All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

As easy as it could have been to worry about the struggles they had in disposing of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Celtics knew they had to immediately turn the page and shift their focus towards a Chicago Bulls team that’s looking to start its season with a quality win over the Celtics.

“They’re a good team. They have great players over there,” said Jae Crowder. “They’re trying to figure it out. They’re going to be very excited to play of course. We have to take care of business, play the way we want to play and impose our will even more.”

One of the keys to knocking off the Bulls will be to get better play from their second unit.

Boston’s backups were outscored 58-40 but more significant than that was their inability to hold off the late-charging Nets which forced head coach Brad Stevens to bring his starters back on to the floor with about two minutes to play.

Among the reasons contributing to the bench’s ineffective play on Wednesday was the fact that Marcus Smart (left ankle sprain) was out.

Remember, Smart has been with the second unit for all of training camp minus the second half of their 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks.

Crowder believes not having Smart, who will be out for another week or so, was indeed a factor in the second unit’s struggles.

“They trying to figure it out on the fly,” Crowder said. “With a few days of practice and probably one tough day of practice without him. It’s tough but they’re figuring it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in a game. They’ll figure it out as soon as possible.”