Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Celtics 115 - Suns 110: Thomas Lights up Former Team in C's Win

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Phoenix - The Celtics had one mission and one mission only on Monday night, win at all cost for the first time in three-games. After losing in Los Angeles in a tough one on Sunday, the C's looked to rebound in the desert in a big way especially after Isaiah Thomas was traded by the Suns just four days prior. Thomas and the rest of his new teammates torched the home team in a 115-110 victory.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (including 3-4 from behind the arc) and 6 steals, and was very active on both ends of the floor. Brandon Bass finished with 18 points and 6 rebounds in the Celtics win to go 1-2 on their mini-west coast road trip.

Isaiah Thomas scored 21 points against his former team to go along with 7 assists in 27 minutes off the bench. The guard who was ejected against the Lakers, put on a show in the last 1:37 of the fourth quarter; scoring 8 points which included a four-point play, a crazy layup, a steal and two-free throws to prevent Phoenix from making a late-comeback. Plus who can forget the stare down of the Suns' bench and smile afterwards?

 "It felt good to beat the team that traded you away," Thomas said. "I just love the big moment. I want to be the hero."

Eric Bledsoe ended his night with 21 points and 10 assists, while Brandon Knight, who was traded from Milwaukee added 20 points in his first start for the Suns, who have lost eight of their last nine games (fifth straight overall)

The Celtics after going 10-for-17 from downtown in the first 24 minutes, looked like they were going to run away with this after a 67-50 halftime lead over the Suns. An Evan Turner dunk in the third quarter finally put the C's up 20 (75-55). Phoenix went on a 16-2 run to cut the deficit to six, before Boston went into the final frame up 89-79.

In a blink of an eye the Suns were down by one with 2:33 remaining on a Bledsoe 3-ball. It was Thomas and Bradley who took over, draining 3's and forcing Phoenix to turnover the ball. With 40-seconds left, Thomas nailed a 3-pointer while getting fouled. The guard hit the freebee to complete the four-point play and have the Celtics go up 107-100. It became a free-throw contest the rest of the way, as the Suns kept fouling to stop the clock and possibly win the game with no such luck.

Boston almost blew a 20-point lead but played hard nose defense to pull out a much needed win. Thomas proved to his ex-teammates that the Suns had made a big mistake in letting this kid go. It's fair to say Brad Stevens has found a permanent go-to scorer in the fourth quarter. A player who not only create shots for himself but for others as well.

"There's no hard feelings between me and the Phoenix Suns. My closest friends are on that team," he added. "It's just me going out there and doing what it takes to win. When I get on the court, I don't have any friends."

The C's will have an off day as they travel back home to take on the lonely New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Thomas makes his TD Garden debut, tip-off is at 7:30 EST.

Game Notes:

After nearly shooting a season-high 50-percent from the 3 (14-29), the Celtics only shot 44 percent from the floor overall.

Joel Pavón
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