Talking Points: Suns 79, Celtics 71

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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.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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0:41 - Tom Curran, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul and how that trade can actually have an affect on the Celtics plans.

5:06 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to talk about if the Celtics are the front runners for Paul George, what would be too much to give up to the Pacers, and why it’s important to sign Hayward before trading for George.

11:21 - Evan Drellich joins from Fenway Park to discuss Rick Porcello getting his 10th loss of the season and if the struggling offense might be a season-long problem. 

14:58 - Tom Curran and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Nate Burleson saying that Julian Edelman is the most under-appreciated receiver in the last 10 years.