January 29, 2023

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BOSTON CELTICS OVERWHELM PHOENIX SUNS

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Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown scored identical 25 points and Malcolm Brogdon chipped in 16 off the bench as Boston Celtics toyed with the hapless Phoenix Suns 125-98 Thursday (Philippine time).

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, in an Associated Press (AP) report, said

“You enjoy the moment, but you’ve got to understand why you did it. Then you’ve got to know that it’s a long year. This could happen to us. It might not, but we’re going to go through some type of obstacles throughout the year.”

Boston Celtic shines under MVP candidate Jayson Tatum

Boston stretched its winning streak to eight in their nine outings while the Suns absorbed their third straight loss in four games.

Tatum said that they put an emphasis on the game after they lost two rough trips to Phoenix in the past two years.

“We remembered that,” Tatum was quoted as saying. He said those two losses remain fresh on their minds that’s why they wanted a different outcome this time.

The looming showdown between the league’s top teams, however, did not materialize as the Celtics led by 45 points. Boston took a 31-21 lead after the first period when Phoenix succumbed to shooting errors, missing all eight of their triple attempts.

Suns center Deandre Ayton said they didn’t compete the way they needed to compete.

The Celtics extended their advantage, 69-42, at the break with Brown hitting 17 points in the first half while Tatum had 14. Grant Williams and Brogdon each added 12.

Mazzulla added, “Phoenix is a great team and I thought the way we played showed the respect we had for them.”

The second half was no different as Boston continued its dominating ways. Tatum’s free throw with 7:01 left in the third canto pushed Celtics’ lead to 40.

Not enough from the Suns

Phoenix’s lousy night went even worse when Mikal Bridges, Chris Paul, and Devin Booker tried to grab a loose ball only to fail, bobbling it away into the hands of Marcus Smart who scored an easy layup for Boston.

Booker said, “It feels like that game should count as two losses, but the good thing is it is still only one.”

The three-time All-Star player added: “You can’t blame scheme, you can’t blame rotation or anything on the coach. We have to look at the mirror as a team and we have to fix it.”

The Suns welcomed back Paul whose return did not bode well for his team. He missed action in the past 14 games with a sore right heel and didn’t help the Phoenix much.

Josh Okogie led the scoring for the Suns with a career-high 28 points off the bench, while Booker contributed 17. Paul, for his part,l finished with four points, four rebounds, and four assists in a 24-minute action.

The Celtics will have another big game ahead of them when they travel to clash against the Golden State Warriors. Boston lost six games to Golden State in the Finals last season.

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