Josh Marion | November 19th, 2019
Coming off a 100-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings (in which the Kings ended the 10 game Celtics winning streak) and playing against a depleted Suns roster, the Celtics had to play on the second night of a back to back in Phoenix. Already 1-1 on a five-game road trip, the Celtics didn’t want to drop this game against the Suns with tough games upcoming versus the Clippers and Nuggets. Scoring 99 points again, the Celtic’s turned this one into a victory with strong backcourt and bench play.
Shutting Down Devin Booker
Every Celtics defender knew coming into the game that Booker was ready to score the basketball. Booker’s typical setup man and point guard Ricky Rubio was ruled out prior to this game. This provided the Celtics an advantage because Booker seemed like he had to do all the scoring himself. Booker got his 20 points but didn’t play much in the fourth quarter because it was such a blow out at that point in the game. Many Celtics players keyed in on Booker to relatively shut him down.
Big Play from the Celtics’ Backcourt
Starting for the Celtics in the backcourt was Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart. Both coming off disappointing games against the Kings, the duo did not let down C’s fans in this matchup. Walker finished with a +22 rating, with 19 points and 5 assists in 30 minutes played. Kemba was never shy to drive to the basket in this game whereas Smart shined more from hitting three-balls. Smart scored nine of his 17 points with the deep and was a steady defensive presence throughout the game. Unfortunately, Smart left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury which hopefully isn’t too serious.
Celtics Maintain the Rebounding Battle
Despite not having any real “bigs” for the Celtics to write home about, the C’s outrebounded the Suns 52-45. Shuffling through fellas like Robert Williams, Enes Kanter, and Daniel Theis the Celtics were very strong on the glass. This would not have been the same if Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton had played because the Celtics would have had no one to match up with him. Call it luck or skill but I was surprised that this Celtics team came out hungry on the boards tonight.
The Celtics got a win they should have earned versus a depleted Suns roster. Being one of the best teams in the East, this type of win doesn’t give me much satisfaction as a Celtics fan. In these next two upcoming games versus the Clippers and Nuggets, we will be able to tell more of what this team is made of.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images