Late Suns rally burns Celtics, 87-80

Late Suns rally burns Celtics, 87-80
March 14, 2014, 9:45 pm
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BOSTON — The Phoenix Suns became the latest team to get back to their winning ways at the expense of the Boston Celtics following Friday's 87-80 win, which extended Boston's losing streak to three in a row.

Phoenix (37-28) closed the game with a 14-4 run which snapped their three-game losing streak.

The Celtics (22-44) played with the same feisty brand of basketball that has kept them in most games this season.

And it seemed to pay off when they opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run (in just 94 seconds, mind you) which gave them a 69-64 lead which tied their biggest lead of the night.

The nine points scored to start the fourth was a far cry from how the Celtics fared in the fourth quarter of their last game, a 116-92 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

In that game, Boston scored just 17 points in the entire quarter.

Despite the strong start, the Suns went on a mini-run of their own with six straight points to regain the lead.

But the Phoenix lead was short-lived as Chris Johnson, who had 11 points off the bench for Boston, made a pair free throws that put the Celtics ahead 71-70 with 7:55 to play.

From there, it was any team's game to win - a far cry from how things played out to start the game.

Boston opened with a 13-8 run but the Suns ran off 12 straight points and eventually led 29-22 after the first quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same with the Suns controlling most of the action.

However, the Celtics rallied to tie the game at 44 following a driving lay-up by Rajon Rondo with less than a minute to play in the half.  He finished with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.

He had a chance to put the Celtics ahead, but Boston was whistled for a 24-second violation

Boston trailed by as many as 11 in the second, but rallied with a 13-3 run to make it a one-point game (41-40) after a Jeff Green 3-pointer.

Green had another dud of a night, scoring nine points while missing 12 of his 14 shot attempts.

The score was eventually tied at 44 following a driving lay-up by Rondo with 58.9 seconds to play in the second quarter.

However, a pair of free throws by Phoenix forward Channing Frye would be the final points of the half which ended with the Suns ahead 46-44.