Jason Richardson scored 34 points and Amare Stoudemire added 22 as the Suns handed the Celtics their first loss of the season, a 110-103 setback at TD Garden.
Phoenix led for the game's final 33-plus minutes after Jared Dudley made one of the Suns' 13 3-pointers early in the second quarter. The advantage grew to as many as 11 on a Dudley layup midway through the fourth before Boston began to chip away.
Two straight baskets by Rasheed Wallace and a 3-pointer by Ray Allen made it 96-92 with just over five minutes to play. It remained a four-point game before Steve Nash, who had a game-high 12 assists, nailed a 3-pointer with 50.9 seconds left to give Phoenix all it would need.
The Celtics missed five shots and a free throw in the final 68 seconds.
Kevin Garnett led Boston with a season-high 26 points as all five Celtics starters finished in double figures.
Suns 110, Celtics 103
Nov. 6, 2009
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Headliner: Richardson has owned the Celtics in the past and served notice early that it would be more of the same. He scored 14 points in the first quarter and 11 in the third, making his first six 3-pointers in the process. Three of Richardson' last seven games against Boston have gone for 30 points or more.
Unsung hero: Dudley started the Suns' run in the second quarter with his go-ahead 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. The Boston College product finished with 10 points, three assists, two steals and no turnovers in 31 minutes.
Scrub: The Celtics outrebounded the Suns, forced more turnovers and shot 51.7 percent from the floor, but they continued to take 3-pointers instead of going to an inside game that had proved effective behind Garnett. Boston finished 4-of-18 from 3-point range and just 2-of-14 after intermission.
Turning point: After Marquis Daniels scored with just over 11 minutes left to get Boston within 87-85, Richardson went off. He first hit a 3-pointer to make it a five-point game, then grabbed a rebound on the other end and scored on a jumper while being fouled. The ensuing free throw made it 93-85, and the Suns added three more points to cap a 9-0 burst.
The Celts never got closer than four points thereafter.
Up next: Boston's brutal stretch of eight games in 12 nights ends Saturday in New Jersey, where the Celts take on the 0-6 Nets, the only remaining winless team in the NBA.
New Jersey, playing without six players due to injury, dropped a 97-94 decision in Philadelphia on Friday. The most crushing blow on the injury front came before the game, when point guard Devin Harris said he could miss up to four weeks with a strained groin.
Harris led the Nets in scoring, assists and steals last season.
The Celts swept all four games between the teams in 2008-09.