The Celtics entered the matchup with the Phoenix Suns yesterdaywinning seven of their last eight games. Boston looked to keep that going against the number one seed in the West.
In a nationally televised game, the Celtics came out wanting to make a statement. That this wasn’t just a hot start out of the gates. They wanted the league to get the message that they are the best team in basketball. They did just that, dominating the Suns 125-98.
The game got out of hand early and was never close. The Suns were forced to clear the benches with four minutes to go in the third quarter. At this point in the game, the Suns had totaled just 53 points. Whereas the Celtics had 95, and the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had 48 alone.
Here’s my breakdown of yesterday’s exhilarating performance.
Transition and Pace
Right out of the gate, the Celtics attacked the Suns in transition. Whether it was off missed shots, turnovers, or even inbound plays, the Celtics pushed the tempo and ran in transition.
Not entirely uncommon for the team ranked 17th in the NBA for fastest in pace.
Boston finished the game with the advantage in points off turnovers 20-17. They also finished with the advantage in fast break points at 10-4.
Jaylen Brown was especially explosive in transition and looked like he had something to prove tonight. He finished with 25 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
Malcolm Brogdon Bench Play
Malcolm Brogdon showed once again just how big of a move it was to trade for him this past summer. He finished with 16 points and 5 assists in just 19 minutes off the bench.
Brogdon continues to excel in his role and does whatever is needed to help this team from game to game. Whether that’s being a spark plug off the bench, a facilitator, a secondary scorer alongside the Jays. He also excels as a floor spacer, ready to hit open shots.
Most thought the trade was a homerun when it happened during the off-season, but through 26 games, it has absolutely exceeded expectations.
Blake Griffin had nine points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes. Luke Kornet finished with 12 points on 100% shooting in 26 minutes off the bench.
Blake Griffin has now started two games in a row with Al Horford out and has been very solid.His energy is contagious and the guys seemingly love to be out there with him.
As a veteran, and once superstar in this league, Griffin is now playing a new role. He’s doing the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet to help this team win. Maybe more importantly, he’s doing it with no ego.
Onto The Next One
The Celtics six game road trip continues with the first finals rematch of the season in a game against the 13-13 Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
Surely this game will have a playoff atmosphere to it. The game should mean something a little extra to everybody involved, especially the Jays.