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The Celtics were totally outclassed and out-muscled against the Suns Friday night, as they never held the lead in a 85-77 loss. The Suns used a couple 15-2 runs to build a 43-30 halftime lead. Amare Stoudemire finished with a game-high 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks to help hand the Celtics their first three-game losing streak of the season.
They played hard against the Warriors and Nuggets in their previous two losses, but they really didn’t show up against the Suns. They did accomplish one thing though: if it was in thier gameplan to keep it a halfcourt game against the Run and Gun Suns, it worked as there were only 162 points scored in the game. Maybe they’ll need a different strategy, as they were totally out-played using this one.
It’s easy to break down this loss. They were out-played and out-muscled. Here’s how:
Out-played: Well this one is easy. The Celtics never led in the game, and it looks like they never showed up either. They were outscored 43-30 in the first half. Yes, just 30 first half points! Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined to go 5-25 from the field in scoring just 19 points. They were out-shot overall by a 42.5-38.5% margin.
Out-muscled: The Suns out-rebounded the Celtics 50-32. Part of that is that the Celtics had more misses, but the discrepancy in shooting does not match that in rebounding. Shaq scored just 4 points but grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Usually injured Grant Hill played 38 minutes and had 14 points and 12 rebounds. On the flip side…Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 6 rebounds. Kevin Garnett finished with 5 of his own.
They will need a much better effort next time out if they expect to salvage this awful West Coast trip. Next up is the slumping Trailablazers on Sunday, who really haven’t been the same since getting whipped by the Celtics earlier this season. Will the Celtics rebound?