NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Phoenix 20 21 36 31 108
Boston 32 35 33 23 123
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST22:00 UAE19:0013:00 ET12:00 PM CT16:00 , December 31, 2021
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts  Attendance: 19,156

Devin Booker bids to stay hot as Suns visit Celtics

According to STATS
According to STATS

Phoenix Suns at Boston Celtics

  1. Phoenix has defeated Boston in four of the last six matchups, including a 21-point drubbing earlier this season (December 10). Seven Suns scored in double figures in that victory compared to only three for the Celtics.
  2. Phoenix picked up an 18-point win over Oklahoma City on Wednesday behind a season-high 38 points from Devin Booker (tied). Since returning from a hamstring injury, Booker is shooting 49.0 percent from three-point range -- he shot 40.3 percent from distance prior.
  3. Cameron Payne exited the win over OKC with a plus-minus of 30, his highest in any career game (including playoffs). Payne led the team with seven assists, marking the first time in 17 games someone other than Chris Paul was Phoenix's outright leading distributor.
  4. The Celtics lost to the Clippers on Wednesday after mustering a season-low 82 points. Boston missed 38 three-pointers in the process (4/42), the third most by any team in a game this season.
  5. Robert Williams finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds against the Clippers, 10 of which came on the offensive end. The last two Celtics with 10+ offensive boards in a game were Brandon Bass in 2014-15 and Antoine Walker in 1996-97.
  6. Phoenix's bench is averaging 39.1 points per game this season, fourth most in the NBA, while Boston's bench produces just 27.9 per game, third fewest in the NBA.

Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns aim to come out of the year on a high note when they visit Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics in a New Year's Eve matinee on Friday afternoon.

Booker helped the Suns get back on track following back-to-back losses by scoring 38 points in a 115-97 home win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old All-Star guard surpassed 10,000 career points in the victory, making him the seventh-youngest player ever to achieve the feat.

JaVale McGee and Cameron Payne each added 16 points for the Suns, who led 85-81 after three quarters in a back-and-forth game. Phoenix outscored the visitors 30-16 in the fourth to put the game away.

The prior two straight losses for the Suns marked the first time the team had dropped consecutive games since losing three of four to begin the season.

"We're going through a funny stretch right now. We're figuring things out," Booker said. "Just moving on to next game mentality. Same as (Wednesday). You know, we got the win, but now we're focused on Boston."

Phoenix had four players -- including star center Deandre Ayton -- in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocol. Jae Crowder, Elfrid Payton and Abdel Nader also were sidelined in the protocol while Frank Kaminsky (knee) remains out.

Boston will be looking to turn the page after one of its worst shooting performances in recent memory in a 91-82 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Brown led all scorers with 30 points but did so on 13-of-36 shooting -- including a 1-of-13 performance from 3-point range. The Celtics made 35-of-101 shots (34.7 percent) from the floor and just 4-of-42 attempts (9.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

Robert Williams III added 16 points, 14 rebounds and a pair of blocks before exiting with a head injury late in the fourth quarter. Al Horford contributed nine points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Boston has lost three in a row and eight of its last 11 games.

"It's just an (expletive) game," a frustrated Brown said after the loss. "We wanted to come back and respond after not playing too well in Minnesota. We played hard but we ended up in a loss. That's it."

It was the Celtics' second straight game without star Jayson Tatum, who is sidelined in COVID-19 protocol. Starting guard Marcus Smart also missed his second straight contest with a laceration on his right hand.

Joining Tatum in the team's COVID-19 protocol were Enes Freedom, Aaron Nesmith, Bruno Fernando and Justin Jackson. All five remained in the protocol entering Friday, but Smart was removed from the injury report, indicating he will play.

Friday's matchup will be the second meeting between Boston and Phoenix this season. On Dec. 10, the Celtics couldn't keep up with a short-handed Suns squad in a 111-90 loss in Phoenix.

Booker and Ayton were both sidelined, but the Suns used a balanced scoring effort to brush aside the Celtics. McGee put up a season-high 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for Phoenix, which had all five starters and seven players total score in double figures.

Tatum had 24 points and seven rebounds to pace the Celtics, who played without an injured Brown.

--Field Level Media

Updated December 30, 2021

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