RECAP: Mikal Bridges paces Suns in win over Celtics

Feb 7, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) makes a shot against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during the second half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Mikal Bridges led a balanced attack with 19 points Sunday afternoon that lifted the host Phoenix Suns past the short-handed Boston Celtics 100-91.

Devin Booker (18 points), Cameron Johnson (17), Deandre Ayton (16) and Chris Paul (15) all made major contributions to a Suns offense that outshot the Celtics 48.8 percent to 35.5 percent.

Jayson Tatum had a game-high 23 points for Boston, which was without injured starters Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

Up just 52-49 at the break, the Suns never trailed in the second half, building as much as a 17-point lead at 76-59 on a floater by E’Twaun Moore with 2:09 remaining in the third period.

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Boston got within five on two occasions in the fourth quarter, the second time when Kemba Walker drained a 3-pointer with 2:29 remaining to keep the Celtics alive at 91-86.

But Johnson countered 29 seconds later with a three of his own, giving the Suns breathing room down the stretch.

Phoenix needed the cushion, as a 30-foot bomb by Payton Pritchard closed the gap to 94-91 with still 1:04 to play.

Booker then connected on a jumper for the Suns, who pulled away at the end thanks to a pair of free throws apiece by Johnson and Paul.

Booker dished out a game-high 11 assists and Ayton collected a team-high 11 rebounds to complete double-doubles for the Suns, who have won five of their last six.

Frank Kaminsky chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds in a starting role.

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Tatum also found time for a team-high seven assists for the Celtics, who had prevailed in their last three trips to Phoenix.

Walker finished with 14 points, Pritchard and Daniel Theis had 12 apiece, and Jeff Teague and Grant Williams had 10 each for Boston, which was playing for the fourth time on a five-game Western trip that ends Tuesday at Utah.

Tristan Thompson grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to complement six points.

The Celtics managed to hang within 52-49 at halftime despite getting outshot 52.5 percent to 36.0 percent over the first 24 minutes. Boston used 10 3-pointers — two each by five players — to offset the huge percentage disparity.

Booker was the leading scorer in the half with 13 points, helping Phoenix go up by as many as 13 points.

–Field Level Media