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The Boston Celtics appear to be rising in the Eastern Conference after reeling off four straight wins, including a 87-79 win over the Phoenix Suns in Boston on Wednesday night. The team received a big lift from Jeff Green, whose team high 14 points were emphatically punctuated with three big dunks over the course of the night.
The Celtics (18-17) had a 12-point lead at halftime and the game seemed to be in control, but the Suns came out firing with a 17-0 run in the third to take the lead. Things settled down as the Celtics regained the game tempo in their favor, and eventually stretched things back to a 12-point lead again in the fourth quarter.
Green was one of three Celtics bench players in double figures, which included Jared Sullinger who notched 16 rebounds to go with 12 points. Rajon Rondo returned from serving his one-game suspension, with eight points and eight assists. The Celtics bench outscored their starters, 47-40.
The Celtics defense looked solid against the Suns, in part thanks to the offense controlling possessions by limiting themselves to 13 turnovers. The Celtics as a defensive unit continue to look significantly stronger after the return of Avery Bradley.
Now above .500, the Celtics are more comfortably in possession of one of the lower playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference as they look to make their climb in the standings. They will be tested on Friday night when James Harden and the Houston Rockets (21-15) visit Boston.