January 19, 2020 / 2:57 AM / a month ago

Booker dominates, Suns clip short-handed Celtics

Devin Booker scored 39 points and fell an assist shy of his first career triple-double as the visiting Phoenix Suns held off the undermanned Boston Celtics 123-119 Saturday night.

Jan 18, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) shoots before their game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Booker added 10 rebounds, Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 15 boards and Mikal Bridges scored a career-high 26, as the Suns won for the fourth time in their last five. Dario Saric scored 13 with 11 rebounds and five assists.

Marcus Smart scored a career-high 37 points on a team-record-setting 11 3-pointers, but the Celtics fell for the sixth time in their last eight. Jayson Tatum scored 26 with 10 rebounds, and Gordon Hayward had 22 points, seven boards and seven assists.

Boston played without starters Kemba Walker (left knee) and Jaylen Brown (thumb sprain).

Down 11 after three, the Celtics began the fourth quarter on a 9-3 run to get within five, 90-85, on an Enes Kanter hook shot with 9:12 to go. But the Suns restored their lead to 11, 96-85, with 7:40 left.

Smart’s record-breaking 10th trey came with 1:42 remaining to get the Celtics within seven, and Daniel Theis hit two free throws and a dunk to cut the deficit to 114-111 with a minute to go. A Bridges basket and four Booker free throws helped the Suns keep the lead despite Smart’s 11th three with 28.4 seconds left.

Tatum’s three with 5.5 ticks to go got Boston as close as two, 121-119, before Booker sealed the result with two more free throws.

Phoenix ended the third up 87-76.

The Celtics opened the scoring on a Smart 3-pointer nine seconds in before the Suns ran off a 12-0 stretch. Phoenix’s lead reached as high as 16, 26-10, but Boston closed on a 10-0 run.

The Celtics pushed the run to 15-0 to get within one, 26-25, at 10:34 of the second and remained in striking distance until a 10-0 spurt gave the Suns a 53-40 edge with 1:53 left. Smart hit a trio of threes, including from 27 feet out with two seconds remaining, but Boston still trailed 60-51 at the break.

Booker led all scorers with 22 points at the break. Smart paced the Celtics with 20 on six threes.

—Field Level Media

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