Celtics Wrap: Kyrie Irving’s 29 Points Not Enough In Loss To Suns


December 19, 2018

BOSTON — There was no double-digit comeback against the Phoenix Suns this time around for the Boston Celtics.

The C’s struggled in the second half, letting the Suns lead by as many as 12 before ultimately losing 111-103 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.

Kyrie Irving dazzled for the Celtics with a double-double (29 points, 10 assists) while Jayson Tatum (18), Marcus Smart (12) Terry Rozier (12), Gordon Hayward (10) all had double-digit points for Boston.

The Green lost more than just the game, however, as Aron Baynes suffered a broken hand early on and will be out indefinitely.

With the loss, the Celtics fell to 18-12, while the Suns climbed to 8-24.

Here’s how it all went down:

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Jaylen Brown
C: Aron Baynes

The Celtics came out hot to start the first, going on an 11-2 run that ended with a stellar Irving-to-Baynes dunk, forcing the Suns to call a timeout just 3:04 in.

The Suns pulled within five, but Marcus Smart drained a 3-pointer, Robert Williams completed a two-handed dunk and Jayson Tatum faked out the Suns for a wide-open jumper. Boston took a 37-26 lead into the second, but not without cost.

Baynes visibly was in pain after going for a ball, forcing him to go to the locker room with the team trainer.

Irving paced the C’s with seven points, while the team shot 71 (!) percent from the field. Suns big man DeAndre Ayton led all shooters with 10 points while Devin Booker had nine.

It was the Suns’ getting hot to start the second, scoring 24 points in the first 6:49, going 9-of-16 from the field.

It wasn’t the easiest quarter for the Celtics, and the Suns continued to chip away at Boston’s lead, but Irving continued his strong night and upped his game total to 14 points. But it was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Smart that was the play of the frame, giving his team a slim 62-59 lead at the half.

Tatum was the only other Celtic with double-digit (11) points, while Booker and Ayton led all shooters with 16.

It may have taken nearly seven minutes into the third period, but Boston finally reached the charity stripe for the first time in the game, and Irving drained both shots. He continued to be a pest draining bucket after bucket.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, they took (and missed) a lot of long 3-pointers, and the Suns capitalized and took the lead. But Williams played solid defense to not prevent Phoenix from pulling away too much with solid defense in the paint.

Hayward drained a three with less than a minute to go to pull Boston within five before Phoenix added to its lead. Hayward again chipped at the deficit, making two free throws. The C’s went into the final quarter down 86-80.

The C’s struggled to start the fourth, continually finding themselves out of bounds, and the Suns hit back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to open up a 12-point lead with 9:53 left in the game.

Boston answered back with four quick points thanks to Williams’ layup and Smart’s steal to set Tatum up for a perfect dunk. Phoenix called a timeout and countered with a quick 5-0 run before Rozier sparked the offense with back-to-back threes to get TD Garden on its feet.

The Celtics continued to diminish the Suns’ lead, with Smart nailing a three to cut Phoenix’s advantage to 103-98. Irving also hit one from distance, but it wasn’t enough, as Phoenix came away with the 111-103 win.

Oh my.

Boston will continue its homestand Friday when it welcomes the Milwaukee Bucks to TD Garden. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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