Final: Celtics 115, Suns 103. After a painful final two minutes, the Celtics have emerged with a 12-point victory over the Phoenix Suns. They've now won three straight games since adding Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green last week.
Kevin Garnett finishes with a season-high 28 points as well as 11 rebounds. That's his sixth consecutive double-double. Paul Pierce adds 16 points with 13 boards; Rajon Rondo adds 16 with 15 assists.
Marcin Gortat leads the Suns with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks off the bench.
The Celtics stay home, where they'll host the Golden State Warriors at the TD Garden on Friday night.
Fourth quarter, 2:17, Celtics 103-94: Aaron Brooks is quietly having a big game off the bench for Phoenix, dropping 12 points on perfect shooting — 5-of-5 from the field, 2-of-2 from the line. He's playing in crunch time, not Steve Nash. That's saying something.
Brooks' game-changing speed and athleticism have kept the Suns alive. But it doesn't look like he's got enough in the tank to steal this one.
Fourth quarter, 4:07, Celtics 101-88: That should just about do it. Ray Allen nails a huge 3, pushing the Celtics' lead to 13. Now the Suns are really running out of time.
Ray has quietly had a really solid shooting night. He's got 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-6 from long range.
Fourth quarter, 5:25, Celtics 97-85: The C's push their lead back to 12 with a bucket inside from Nenad Krstic. Krstic now has 12 points, his second consecutive game in double figures.
Krstic entered the game replacing Glen Davis. It looks like the new guy is part of Doc Rivers' crunch-time five.
Fourth quarter, 6:53, Celtics 95-85: The C's have regained their scoring touch. Glen Davis gets two free throws and knocks them down; Rajon Rondo hits a jumper. Boston's lead stays in double digits for the time being.
The C's are still a long way from home. They've got to maintain the intensity in this fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter, 9:22, Celtics 91-79: The Suns have suddenly rattled off an incredible 16-0 run. The Celtics are scoreless in nearly five minutes.
What in the world is going on? the Suns are without two starters, they trailed by 28 a few minutes ago, and now they actually have a shot at winning this thing?
The Celtics need to nip this in the bud, and fast.
End of third quarter, Celtics 91-72: Things were already bad enough for the Suns before the ugly collision between Vince Carter and Channing Frye. Now it appears both Suns starters are done for the night.
The Suns are down 19 with 12 minutes to play. It's time to raise the surrender flag and empty the bench.
Kevin Garnett, by the way, has topped his previous season high with 28 points. He's turned in a dominant performance.
Third quarter, 2:23, Celtics 88-63: Paul Pierce now has nine points and 10 rebounds. He's hit double digits in boards for the fourth time this season and 126th of his career.
The Celtics have a sizable edge on the glass in this game, 33-23. They can't lose when they crash like that.
Third quarter, 4:53, Celtics 86-57: Vince Carter takes a hard fall after colliding with teammate Channing Frye. He's not getting up.
Carter has a history of falling down and faking injuries, but this looks pretty serious. He may have a concussion. He got hit pretty hard.
Best wishes to Carter. Hoping he's all right.
Third quarter, 5:12, Celtics 86-57: Ray Allen drills a 3. Nenad Krstic hits a jumper. Ray drills another 3. KG knocks down one more shot. When it rains, it pours.
KG now has 26 points, matching his season high. He's 12-of-14 from the field.
His last 30-point game was on March 26, 2008, also a home game against the Suns. He's on pace for another one here.
Third quarter, 7:34, Celtics 76-52: Paul Pierce just showed Channing Frye up, slamming one down in his face and staring him down. That's a technical, but ask Pierce and he'll tell you it's worth it.
The captain now has nine points, nine rebounds and three assists. Just a solid all-around game.
Third quarter, 10:22, Celtics 68-44: Kevin Garnett opens the second half with another bucket — he's now got 20 points — and then Nenad Krstic pours in four quick points to boot. The Celtics' lead is now 24, the biggest of the night.
The defensive intensity is still there, even with the blowout advantage. The C's aren't letting up.
This team looks scary good.
Halftime, Celtics 62-42: Last time Kevin Garnett played against the Suns, it was a nightmare. The Celtics got their butts kicked, and KG got ejected. This time around, it's a different story.
The Big Ticket has been a big force, shooting 8-of-9 from the field for 18 first-half points. He's been absolutely unstoppable.
Rajon Rondo is already nearing a double-double with 10 points and seven assists.
Marcin Gortat has eight points to lead the Suns. Steve Nash has seven, but he also has a technical foul for yelling obscenities at an official after a no-call in the final minutes of the half.
This is the opposite of when these two teams met in Phoenix — this time the Celtics have the big lead, and the Suns are losing their composure.
Second quarter, 2:46, Celtics 52-39: Now KG's 7-for-7. This is getting ridiculous.
Alvin Gentry is desperately searching his bench for someone who can guard Garnett. Sadly, that player doesn't exist.
The Celtics have maintained their double-digit lead throughout the quarter. If they keep shooting this well, they won't let go.
Second quarter, 4:33, Celtics 49-36: Doc goes back to his starters, and they do not disappoint. Kevin Garnett knocks down another shot inside — he's now 6-for-6.
KG's stat line now reads: 14 points, three rebounds, two blocks, one assist.
The Celtics are outshooting the Suns 59.0 percent to 42.9.
Second quarter, 6:18, Celtics 45-32: Doc is letting Avery Bradley get some extended run guarding Aaron Brooks. He's looked really impressive.
With Delonte West out this week, Bradley is getting a chance to show what he can do. He's such a tenacious defender, he definitely deserves his chance. So far, he's making the most of it.
Second quarter, 9:19, Celtics 40-23: The Celtics' second unit is rocking. Glen Davis, Jeff Green and even Avery Bradley are knocking down shots, and it's an 8-2 Boston run to open the second quarter.
The C's are building up a blowout lead, and their starters are watching from the bench.
End of first quarter, Celtics 32-21: The Troy Murphy era is underway, and it doesn't exactly start swimmingly. The newcomer chucks a 3 on his first possession and misses.
But no matter — the C's have a double-digit lead. They finish the first quarter shooting 15-of-25, as the Suns are still struggling with that whole "defense" thing early on.
Kevin Garnett has 12 points for Boston. Vince Carter leads the Suns with six, having opened the game with a pair of treys.
First quarter, 2:13, Celtics 28-19: Kevin Garnett isn't talking much trash out there with the Suns this time around. Just letting his game speak for itself. And wow, it has a lot to say.
KG opens the ballgame with 12 points, two rebounds, an assist and a block. He's made all five of his shots from the floor and both of his free throws to boot.
This is the 2004 KG rearing his head. He's playing like an MVP tonight.
First quarter, 5:34, Celtics 20-15: The Celtics are really, really tough to beat on nights when Kevin Garnett is making his jump shots. This looks like one of those nights.
KG has connected on his first four attempts, knocking them down from mid-range with all the confidence in the world. He's really making Channing Frye work to contest those jumpers.
First quarter, 8:09, Celtics 16-8: You've got to love Phoenix Suns basketball. For better or for worse, you're going to see a lot of running and chucking up shots. So far, it's already spelled 24 points in less than four minutes.
The Celtics are on a 10-0 run. They've made seven of their first 11 shot attempts. They can't be stopped.
First quarter, 10:58, Suns 6-4: Nenad Krstic gets his first home bucket at the TD Garden, a thunderous dunk. But Vince Carter has silenced the applause from the Garden faithful, draining back-to-back 3s.
Carter wasn't much of a factor against the Celtics during his time in Orlando. He's getting a fresh start now.
First quarter, 11:30, Celtics 2-0: Kevin Garnett does nothing dirty to Channing Frye this time — he just schools him and gets to the basket. KG works past Frye, draws a foul from Robin Lopez, and gets to the line. He hits two free throws.
Lopez is a strong post defender. The fact that KG's already gotten the best of Frye and Lopez after one possession is a good sign for Boston.
7:25 p.m.: The media circus is pretty crazy at the Garden. Troy Murphy is here; Shaquille O'Neal is not. There's tons of buzz this evening about Murphy's arrival, Shaq's absence, and the home debuts of Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green.
Krstic will start, and Murphy may or may not come off the bench as his backup, says Doc Rivers. A lot is still undecided about the C's rotation.
It may take a while for Doc to figure everything out. We'll see if they can still win ballgames in the meantime.
5:50 p.m.: Welcome to the TD Garden, where Troy Murphy is in the house and the Celtics are warming up for Wednesday night's tilt with the Phoenix Suns.
Nenad Krstic is still likely to start, and Shaquille O'Neal's status is a total question mark, but Murphy will be with the club and he's likely to play Wednesday.
The C's big man just got a whole lot more interesting. This team is going strong in the post-Kendrick Perkins era.
8 a.m.: The Celtics wrapped up a solid West Coast road trip on Monday night with a victory over the Jazz, taking a 3-1 post-All-Star record back to Boston. Now they're home again, and now they're adding some depth for the stretch run.
Troy Murphy has been added to the C's bench, adding some extra rebounding prowess and a deadly outside shot to strengthen the second unit. Shaquille O'Neal is also nearing a return, and we may see him at the TD Garden this week as well. Add those two to a group that already includes Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and Chris Johnson, and the Celtics have added a lot of bodies in the last week.
The C's will put those bodies to the test on Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns, who visit the Garden at 7:30 p.m. They remain home Friday to take on the Golden State Warriors.
The Suns are a fast-paced, high-volume shooting team led by the fossilizing Steve Nash; they're aging and beginning to come undone this season, but they're still loaded with weapons that can beat the Celtics.
In fact, over a month ago, the Suns did beat the C's. They got double-doubles from both Nash (13 points, 10 assists) and Marcin Gortat (19 points, 17 rebounds) to win 88-71 in Phoenix on Jan. 28. Kevin Garnett was ejected late in that one.
Maybe the added depth will help the Celtics pull one out this time. They'll be loaded and ready to go for the rematch in Boston.
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