Celtics-Suns preview

Celtics-Suns preview
January 28, 2011, 10:18 am
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By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

The Phoenix Suns' 20-23 record is not particularly noteworthy. Between the departure of Amare Stoudemire last summer and an early season trade, the team has been struggling to hit its stride.

As the Boston Celtics come to Phoenix on Friday, the Suns are currently on a four-game losing streak and rank 10th in the Western Conference.

Individually, though, there are several members of the Suns squad that have had success against the Celtics over their careers. Steve Nash (11.5 points, 8.2 assists in 25 games vs. Celtics) isnt the only one who has challenged the Cs in the past:

Vince Carter: After spending nearly his entire career in the Eastern Conference, Carter has played 44 games against the Celtics. He is averaging 22 points against the Cs and shows no hesitancy in this matchup. Last season he attempted 79 field goals (37 FG) over seven games during the Eastern Conference Finals with the Orlando Magic. Carter isnt afraid to shoot against the Celtics - the question is, will the Cs prevent them from falling?

Grant Hill: The Celtics are stacked with ageless veterans, and the Suns also have one in Hill. The 38-year-old forward is scoring nearly 15 points per game this season in the starting lineup. In 37 career games the Celtics, he is averaging 18.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. These two teams will put years of experience on the court - how will the battle of the vets stack up?

Mickael Pietrus: Pietrus is shooting 45 percent from three-point range during his career against the Celtics. He faced the Cs in the last two postseasons as a member of the Magic, and each year he posed a threat from long-range. He averaged over 12 points per game off the bench during 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals in which the Magic eliminated the Celtics. Pietrus productivity, however, is down this season - will he find his rhythm playing against a familiar foe?

Josh Childress: It has been three years since the Celtics last faced Childress. Before he left the NBA to play in Greece, Childress used his athleticism to pester the Cs in a seven-game, first-round series in 2008 with the Atlanta Hawks. He averaged 7 points and nearly 6 rebounds off the bench, causing problems on the fast break and in transition. Time has passed since Childress last competed against the Celtics - will they stop him from giving the Suns a spark?

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA