This one was over at halftime.
Until it wasn’t.
The Celtics ran out to a 20-point halftime lead against the Suns’ “defense,” stretched it to 28 in the third quarter and then, as Doc Rivers started downshifting to a garbage-time lineup, the Suns roared back with 18 unanswered points. It never got close enough to actually qualify as a tight game but the starters ended up logging real minutes in the fourth quarter when they should have been dancing to the Jumbotron and swearing contentedly amongst themselves.
Kevin Garnett had a season-high 28 points on 12-14 shooting (although he didn’t take a single fourth quarter shot as the Suns were mounting their sorta, not-quite comeback). Paul Pierce (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (16 points, 15 assists) also went for double-doubles, with numbers that look a bit more impressive than they actually are, given the accelerated pace of the game.
Tonight also saw the Celtics debut of Heat-spurner and spray tan enthusiast Troy Murphy, who went 0-3 with 2 rebounds in 14 getting-to-know-you minutes with his new team. As far as the other newbies go: Jeff Green only saw 16 minutes but already looks more comfortable in green and Nenad Krstic continues his solid play, with 13 points and 4 rebounds.
We all want Shaquille O’Neal and Delonte West to get healthy and back on the court, but even without them this team is again deep and multi-functional.
Brendan’s back with the full recap later on tonight.