The Boston Celtics won their fourth straight on Monday night following a, 102-94, win over the Phoenix Suns in the third of a four-game West Coast trip, but they lost Marcus Morris in the process.
In Morris’ return after missing Sunday’s game with a sprained right ankle, he’d end up finding himself out of Monday’s game after re-injuring the same ankle at the end of the third quarter.
Boston has now taken both matchups against Phoenix this season winning the first one, 116-111, back in early December at the TD Garden.
The Celtics are still leaving Phoenix with the best record in the East against the West at 21-8. And they’ve now won four straight as they head to Utah to finish off a four-game West Coast sweep.
With the loss, the Suns have now lost 12 straight and are 2-27 over their last 29 games, for last place in the West.
Jaylen Brown and the C’s opened up the game with a 20-6 run, after going 5-for-7 from three. And they’d finish the first with a hefty 31-15 lead.
During the second of a back-to-back, Jayson Tatum scored his 1,000th NBA career point, while making Celtics history in the process.
After shooting almost 10 percent worse from the field in the second, and a 26-9 Suns’ run, the Celtics fell behind 48-45 heading into the halftime.
By this point, Al Horford was already sniffing a double-double with nine points, seven boards and five assists. He’d go onto finish the game with 19 points (7-12 FG), nine rebounds and seven assists.
Josh Jackson and the Suns continued to hustle their way back, finally tying things up at 50, just 1:40 into the opening of the second half. And it’d be tied up again at 56 with more six minutes to play in the third. But that was the last time the Suns would be within range of the C’s.
The Celtics would go on a 21-9 run following Terry Rozier III’s tie-breaking three with 6:02 left in the third, to take a 77-65 lead into the final quarter.
But before the final buzzer of the third, Troy Daniels of the Suns was called on a shooting foul after bumping into Morris as he was coming down to the floor while finishing his shooting motion from beyond the arc.
He’d stay on the court to shoot his three freebies, which he hit all three, before being sent to the locker room for evaluation. The C’s would later announce that he wouldn’t be returning due to a right ankle sprain. [Reminder: He missed Sunday’s game due to a right ankle sprain.]
Morris finished with 20 points (6-8 FG) for a career-high third straight game.
The Suns had a chance to comeback midway through the fourth, following back-to-back two-minutes scoring draughts for the C’s, but they just couldn’t get anything going. Especially with the Celtics keeping their foot on the gas en route to a, 102-94, win.
Tatum led all Celtics scorers with 23 points (10-18 FG), six rebounds and two steals.
And Horford couldn’t have been more right following the game either, when he said that “it’s rare for a rookie like Jayson Tatum to play ‘a big part’ in carrying the offense of a playoff team.”
Both Brown and Rozier struggled from the field, with Brown finishing with seven points on 3-for-11 from the field. And Rozier finishing with 16 points on 4-of-11 from three-point land.
The Celtics finished the night shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 48.3 percent from three.
Jackson led all Suns with 23 points (9-15 FG), six rebounds and two assists.
In Other Celtics News:
Prior to Monday’s tip, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that ‘G League guard Xavier Silas will be signing a 10-day contract with the Celtics.’
Silas, 30, has appeared in two NBA games, both with the Philadelphia 76ers back in the 2011-2012 season. The two-time member of the Maine Red Claws, was most recently with the Northern Arizona Suns. In 32.7 minutes-per-game this season, he’s averaging 18.4 points and 4.1 rebounds, while shooting 44 percent from the field.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (51-23) will look to complete the sweep of their four-game West Coast trip on Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz (42-32). Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 9:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 9:30 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at email@example.com.