Celtics run away from Suns, 115-103

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Celtics run away from Suns, 115-103

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Boston Celtics are a team in transition - literally and figuratively - these days.

They certainly were on Wednesday night as they ran away with a 115-103 win over the Phoenix Suns.

A big part of Boston's success was the C's ability to score in transition, which is surprising when you consider Phoenix is one of the NBA's better teams when it comes to scoring on fast-break opportunities.

On Wednesday, it was the C's getting out and running as they outscored the Suns 24-7 in fast-break points.

"We said if we can get stops, we can run," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "We felt that we could really beat them down the floor."

And the key to Boston's transition game is Rajon Rondo, who had his 25th double-double of the season with 16 points and 15 assists.

"One of the things we told Rondo is to think of this as a coast-to-coast game," Rivers said. "Every time you got the ball, think about going from rim to rim until they stop you. And if they stop you, that means someone's open."

For most of the game, that someone was Kevin Garnett who tallied his 22nd double-double of the season with a season-high 28 points and 11 rebounds.

That was just part of a Boston (44-15) team that's still adding pieces to the puzzle - Wednesday was Troy Murphy's first game with the Celtics, and the C's will add another player, Sasha Pavlovic, as early as Thursday - but still good enough to put together a much-improved effort after losing 88-71 at Phoenix on Jan. 28.

In that game, Kevin Garnett was ejected after picking up two technical fouls. It was also a game in which Garnett connected on a below-the-belt-shot on Channing Frye that prompted some reacting to the incident by labeling Garnett as a dirty player.

"I don't really care," Garnett said.

More than anything, Garnett seemed bothered by comments about him that he doesn't believe are true.

"Don't make stuff up, stuff that's not true," Garnett said. "I don't fall from dirty. I play the game really hard. I play with my heart. I'm never going to make any excuses about that, so who cares what they're talking about."

There would be no questionable below-the-waist shots from Garnett on Wednesday.

Every shot Garnett tossed on Wednesday was above and more often than not, through the rim.

Garnett was smacking the Suns around - Frye in particular - most of the game.

He led all scorers with a season-high 28 points, with his play being a big part of the Celtics pulling ahead by as many as 29 points.

But the Suns, about as streaky a team as you'll find in the NBA, got hot at the start of the fourth and had Boston's lead down to just 10 points with more than eight minutes to play.

Just like that, the Celtics' runaway victory was now a game again.

A pair of free throws by Glen Davis with 8:17 to play pushed the C's lead to 93-81. He would later leave the game because of a strained patella tendon in his left knee.

Davis said he was planning to have an MRI done today, and go from there as far as when he would return.

Phoenix eventually cut Boston's lead to single digits following an Aaron Brooks jumper with 7:14 to play.

The Suns had to play a good chunk of the fourth without starters Vince Carter (mouth laceration) and Frye (eye contusion) who collided with one another.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”