Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix
PHOENIX – (Special Preview for Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – The Boston Celtics had no issues starting a five-game road trip on a good note and they look to duplicate their effort in a visit to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. Following a critical four-point home win over the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics opened the trip with a 115-95 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
The tone was set with a 70-point first half for Boston, which shot 51.2 percent overall and saw six players score at least 13 points. “We were really moving the ball, we were playing with great purpose and we got the ball to the right guys in the right situations,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters. The Suns have leapfrogged the stumbling Lakers at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with two straight wins of their own, including a 118-111 triumph over Oklahoma City on Friday. They also had six players in double figures and forward Alan Williams recorded his third double-double in the last four games with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Arizona (Phoenix)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (40-22): Rookie Jaylen Brown had 16 points in 23 minutes off the bench Friday and several of his baskets were of the highlight variety, reinforcing the potential star power that Boston has in the former Cal product. “We get stops and then we got some young guys on the team, it’s showtime,” Brown told reporters after a performance that included an off-the-backboard pass from Isaiah Thomas for a two-hand jam. “We get out and run with the best of them.” Since missing three games before the All-Star break with a hip injury, Brown is averaging 13 points while shooting 55.3 percent.
ABOUT THE SUNS (20-42): Phoenix has matched a season high with three straight home wins and it is averaging 125 points in those victories. Rookie guard Tyler Ulis is averaging 7.3 assists in 20.3 minutes over his last three games and scored a season-high 14 points to go along with three steals in Friday’s victory, during which the bench provided 55 points while shooting 60 percent. Veterans Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler have yet to play since the All-Star break.
1. Thomas scored 28 points in a win at Phoenix last March, giving Boston three straight wins in the series.
2. Celtics PF Jonas Jerebko has made all four of his 3-point attempts over a three-game span.
3. Suns SG Leandro Barbosa is averaging 15 points in 21.5 minutes off the bench during the two-game winning streak.