Although they continue (albeit briefly) without Devin Booker, the Suns are recovering sensations and adding prestigious victories. This morning, Monty Williams’ team prevailed at the home of the NBA leader 94-106 to rise to sixth place and return to direct access to the playoffs, confirming their improvement at the cost of preventing the Celtics from maintaining their advantage in the tip of the table. Those from Boston are still leaders of the East, but their margin over Milwaukee and Philadelphia is narrowing again after a phase of the course in which they seemed to have almost guaranteed the first position.
Mazzulla’s men had quite a few problems finding themselves on this occasion, especially in a first half in which they came to see themselves 20 down. Phoenix put up a good defense and managed to prevent the triple, one of Boston’s main weapons, from being a determining factor, leaving the locals at 10/38 that generated moments of real jam. This, added to the good work of Chris Paul, who signed 11 of his 15 points in the second quarter, and the contribution of the second unit, brought the score to 33-53, opening a gap that, however, did not last long.
Boston already closed the gap before the break, but it was in the third period when they really began to take the pulse of the game. Even without overwhelming basketball, his defense began to work better and his men began to find ways to score more frequently, which made the distance in the electronic game gradually disappear until only one point was reached (73-74). before the fourth quarter, making a comeback seem imminent. But this never came.
Mikal Bridges, who had been in charge of keeping the Suns alive in the third quarter, was in charge of lifting them off the canvas in the fourth and commanding a reaction that made them continue in front and reopen the differences. The forward took a more than necessary step forward in the second half, in which he assumed the vacant role of leader and added 17 of the 25 goals with which he finished the game to mark territory at the TD Garden. With the support of the 14 points added by both Deandre Ayton and Dario Saric and a limited but efficient bench, he was in charge of giving the visitors a high-level victory with which to remember that they are still a team loaded with weapons and resources.
“Taking this victory without Booker gives us a lot of confidence, knowing that we will soon have him back,” said Jock Landale. “He We would have liked to win a few more games in his absence, but now that we are adding wins again and we know that he is about to return, we feel that we are in a great moment.”
No hit in Boston
The Celtics thus added a new setback on a night of little inspiration for their men. Jaylen Brown, with 27 points, was the team’s top scorer, followed by Jayson Tatum’s 20 whose performance left much to be desired. The forward was left at a poor 3/15 in shooting, and although in the third quarter he managed to force several fouls that allowed him to add from the free kick and start to reactivate himself, he did not even manage to make this a regular resource and his contribution to the moment of truth was rather scarce.
Something more effective was Derrick White, who reached 19 points with a 50% success rate on the shot, but that was as far as the support that the stars received from the secondaries. The Suns prevented the rotation players from taking a step forward, handcuffing the locals and leaving them in their third worst score of the entire season to the point of preventing them from fighting for the victory in the final minutes.
(Cover photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)