Starting perhaps their most significant road trip of the season, the Phoenix Suns got off to a winning start behind another strong showing from Mikal Bridges.
Playing against the team with the best record in the NBA on their floor was always going to make Boston a challenging game for the Phoenix Suns. Playing without Devin Booker, still out injured, makes things even more challenging. Fortunately for Phoenix, Mikal Bridges continued to grow and was the leading man again as the Suns beat the Celtics at the Garden.
Phoenix got off to another slow start falling behind on the road 0-7 in the games opening minutes. A month ago, that seven-point lead would have ballooned to 15, and the Suns would be playing catch-up all night. Instead, Phoenix fought back in a hurry and won the first quarter.
Deandre Ayton got the Suns going
Behind by seven, Deandre Ayton got going for the Suns and turned the game in the Suns’ favor. With a layup, a dunk, and a short hook shot, the game went from 0-7 to 6-7 in a hurry. Then as the Celtic’s defense started to converge on Ayton, he found a cutting Bridges for a dunk and the Phoenix’s first lead at 8-7.
It was a lead the Suns would not relinquish as Ayton and Bridges finished the quarter with eight points each, and the Suns held a four-point lead after one 24-20.
Instead of the Suns playing catch-up all night, Boston was working to come from behind. Phoenix built the lead to as big as 20, and the Celtics cut the lead to as few as one, but the Suns never faltered and were at their best in the fourth quarter.
Bridges and bench again big in the fourth quarter
With the game on the game in the balance entering the fourth quarter, it was once again the Phoenix reserves who helped carry the day. To start the quarter, Damion Lee hit a three, Jock Landale had a three-point play, and Saban Lee had a thunderous dunk, followed by another three from D Lee. Suddenly a one-point game was up to 10
had eight of his 11 points in the opening minutes of the final period, and Jock Landale provided a three-point play to turn a one-point Phoenix lead into a 10-point Phoenix cushion, and the bench had again done their job.
Boston fought back, but six straight points from Bridges – who had eight in the fourth quarter – put the Phoenix in control as they finished with a relatively comfortable 12-point win.
Only Jaylon Brown had more points on the night than the 25 from Bridges, but more importantly, Phoenix had the win they needed to start a big road trip.