The Phoenix Suns did exactly what they wanted to do against a veteran Boston Celtics team that played a tough game the night before in Portland and didn't arrive in Phoenix until 4 a.m. Pushing the tempo was the key to the game and playing with energy on the defensive end was the other smaller key. The Suns did both and the tired Celtics obliged by getting themselves into foul trouble and playing sloppy offense.
"We were sloppy. I thought the Suns played hard. We didn't play well," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said after the game. He was ejected for arguing with the officials in the first half.
The Suns used all that to build a 30-16 lead after the first period and never really looked back.
Boston was able to go on a run in the third quarter and cut the lead to ten but with a strong scoring performance from Vince Carter, the Suns pushed that back to 17 points to start the fourth.
The game got close again after things got a bit chippy with Mickael Pietrus igniting a Celtics run after a flagrant foul on Kevin Garnett. The Celtics used that insult to cut the lead to nine about halfway through the fourth before KG tapped Channing Frye in the man parts while he was taking a three-point shot. Frye jumped up and the minor scuffle was on.
When the dust cleared, Garnett was called for the foul on Frye and ejected and two other Celtics players received technical fouls. The Suns ended up with six free throws out the mess which effectively ended the game for good.
"I knew it would be a real physical game, but the thing that I thought is that, for the most part, we kept our composure and just tried to concentrate on playing," Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said.
The Suns were led by strong performances from Marcin Gortat (19 points, 17 rebounds) and Vince Carter (17 points). Gortat's 19 points were a career high.