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.