Boston Celtics 113, Phoenix Suns 88 -- Another blowout

PHOENIX – Lindsey Hunter called a timeout exactly a minute into the game. The Phoenix Suns had ushered two Boston Celtics to the hoop for layups and fallen behind 4-0. They held it together against Boston, which was without Kevin Garnett, until the third quarter before tumbling 113-88 Friday in their first return to U.S. Airways Center after the All-Star break.

Did Hunter see the final outcome on the horizon?

“You mean, two dead layups?” he said afterward. “Yeah. Yeah, I saw it real early.”

The timeout didn’t help, and Boston jumped out to a 13-0 lead in a game that could’ve been confused with a visit from the Los Angeles Lakers considering all the noise coming from the opposing fans.

Jump to the third quarter. Phoenix brought its deficit to 53-48 two minutes into the second half after fighting back with a few short runs. Crisis averted? Not even close.

“They were saying KG wasn’t playing, everybody (on the Suns) was happy and then they bust our asses,” said point guard Goran Dragic, who scored 19 points to go with 10 assists.

Jeff Green scored 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Five of those makes were on three-pointers. Boston hit 55.7 of its shots, went 10-of-22 from three-point range and throttled the wilting Suns with a menacing defense.

“I guarantee we’ll change and we’ll be practicing ’til they kick us out the gym, because … that puts a bad taste in my mouth,” Hunter said. “Just being treated disrespectful. That’s what I take that as being – disrespected.”

Answering how he’d handle rotations with the addition of Marcus Morris in the pregame media session, Hunter said that he hadn’t thought about it.

“Whoever’s playing hard and playing well, that’s who we’ll play,” he said. “It’s kind of that simple, really.”

Simple it became. Dragic appeared to be the only player that didn’t frustrate Hunter, and the Suns’ interim coach kept the guard in the game with a garbage unit as the number of players delivering effort dwindled. Read into that as what it is.

“Like I said, we’re going to work until we either weed out the guys that are going to be here, weed out the guys that aren’t going to play the way that we demand, and if that’s five guards then it’ll be five guards,” Hunter said. “If Diante Garrett has to play 30 minutes per night, then he’ll play.”

Garrett did play. Across the board, the effort was so bad in Hunter’s eyes that a lineup of Dragic, Garrett and Kendall Marshall played a large chunk of the final quarter with the Morris twins – this coming after Hunter said before the game that he doesn’t like small ball.

In Boston’s 13-0 start to the game, the Celtics hit four shots that were layups or close to them. Phoenix responded with a 9-3 spurt after Hunter began his substitution patterns early.

After Gortat and Scola had gotten beaten off the dribble by a frontcourt missing Garnett, who was out with “rest,” Hunter went with a lineup of Dragic, Johnson, Tucker, Beasley and Markieff Morris.

Boston held a 53-41 lead at half with the Suns tossing the ball away nine times, missing the few open shots they found, and struggling with the Celtics’ speedy frontcourt players that burned Phoenix in both the halfcourt and transition.

Phoenix brought the deficit to 53-48 two minutes into the second half, and then it fell apart. It was nothing other than poor defense and no semblance of order on offense as the Suns shot 41.7 percent on the night. Boston led 81-67 after the third, then piled up 32 points in the fourth as the shooting percentages for the quarter went 31.8 for Phoenix and 70.6 for the Celtics.

“A situation like tonight, it burns at my very being tonight,” Hunter said. “That’s totally unacceptable coaching-wise, player-wise. The way we performed tonight, that can’t happen. I know people all the time say you can’t coach effort. I disagree. If I have to coach effort, then that’s what I’ll do.”

Beasley prematurely leaves the game

Michael Beasley was yanked in the fourth quarter for Diante Garrett as Hunter went with a surprising lineup of three point guards. Beasley went to the locker room right after, and Suns officials said an elbow injury was being examined.

Hunter said he didn’t know why Beasley went to the locker room.

“I have no idea,” he said.

Paul Coro reports that an X-ray was taken and was negative.

It was unclear when Beasley injured himself, or if it was even in the game. He struggled mightily, once picking up a steal with two Suns alone in front of him on a break before he overthrew his target by a good 10 yards. Beasley shot 2-of-8 from the floor and had six points and five rebounds.

Marcus Morris debuts, Diante Garrett gets burn

With the game out of hand Marcus Morris saw playing time alongside Markieff Morris with the three guard lineup. He posted an active seven points to go with two rebounds and two steals in more than six garbage minutes.

Garrett played nine minutes and picked up two assists, both on fastbreaks.

Quotable: Goran Dragic on the effort of the Suns players: “I’m always going to defend my players. I don’t want to talk about that. That’s a coaching … he has to say something about that. Like he said, if two or three guys are battling, no chance we are going to win games.”

  • hawki

    Only two teams in the league have more losses than the Suns.
    Orlando 40…..Charlotte 42…….Suns 38
    4 teams have 37 losses….more exciting than the playoff race….lakers keep winning but so do the Rockets.
    Suns look like a collection of misfits, malcontents & D-Leaguers.
    We need the Hubbel Telescope to see the Light at the end of the tunnel.

    • BoomShakaLuka

      @hawki  No doubt. Planet Orange has become inhospitable these days. Unless the front office can ink two big name free agents this summer (ex. Millsap, Ellis) we better get used to the lottery for a few more years. The only hope is that the losing gets too much for Robert Sarver to handle, and ticket sales plummet even further, so he sells the team.

      • SkyBill40

        @BoomShakaLuka  @hawki A FEW more? That’s putting it on the light side, don’t you think? The Suns are going to be a perennial lottery team as long as Sarver continues to be the owner with Blanks and Babby running the FO.
        This team is a travesty, and the blood is solely on Sarver’s hands. It’s time for that idiot to sell the team to someone who wants it and will do what it takes to win, and that means spending money instead of scrimping it.

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  • steppxxxxz

    two terrible drafts………..and idiotic free agent signings and trades. If you are too dumb to know beasley is a hopeless dead loss…………and why adelman demanded he be sent away………then you  shouldnt be a GM. Only sacramento is worse. its pathetic.

  • 4everis2long

    EXACTLY Steppx,Hawki,Boom Boom and Sky. The Suns are a travesty like Skybill said. Losing to Celtics scrubs in Phoenix and listening to the Celtics announcers at half time say the Suns are the worst team in basketball, is disheartening to say the least. I am glad that it appears even Hunter is now of the mindset to play Garrett. Garrett and every point guard in the NBA is better than Marshall. Whoever sold the Suns on that lottery pick should be read their last rights. I wish the league would take over the franchise.

  • DBreezy

  • bkkkkkkkk

    Great…. with the new Morris twin on board and this blowout loss. The coach will have to think of a new rotation and lineup.

    • SkyBill40

      @bkkkkkkkk Hard to make a tasty pie when all the apples in the bushel are rotten.

      • bkkkkkkkk

        @SkyBill40 The remaining of this season is winning by losing. The tasty bite is the lottery pick. As long as the coach is playing the young players heavily, they are on the right track.

  • TySun

    All that’s left to do is ride out this season and look forward to the draft and off season trades.  Hopefully Hunter gives plenty of playing time to the younger players but most of all to anyone on the team that still plays with some PRIDE… the guys who will still play hard even when the team is down 20 points.  Anyone who doesn’t do that is expendable after the season.
    BTW, does anyone else think that – depending on where the Suns 1st pick in the draft falls – Marcus Smart might be a good choice?  I know that he’s a point guard but he’s a sturdy (225 lbs), athletic 6’4″ PG that scores.  I’d love to see him and Dragic paired in the Suns’ back court.  I’d love to get McLemore, Oladipo or Muhammad but I think that the Suns shouldn’t overlook Smart just because he’s a PG.

    • SkyBill40

      @TySun There’s no telling where the Suns will fall at this point, but many have them between four to six on the board. There’s still some time left to go until June, and prospects can change dramatically in the span of one game (ask Nerlens Noel).
      What I’d rather the team not do is draft on “best available”. They need to take someone who fills a spot at which they’re hurting, and that spot is SG. However, if they could get Tony Bennett from UNLV… that would be just fine with me.

    • 4everis2long

      @TySun  I am a Mclemore, Otto Porter and Oladipo guy. While I like Bennet the couple of recent games I have seen him play he is not that good defensively. Same goes for Shabazz.

      • TySun

        @4everis2long  I’m not big on Bennet either.  He’s good but the Suns’ most pressing need is at the 2 and they could get a good one if they don’t fall out of the top 5-6 picks in this year’s draft.

        • steppxxxxz

          @TySun  @4everis2long problem is, suns need everything. EVERYTHING. what dont they need? In a high lotto pick you draft BPA. Period. You dont reach for need. Mclemore is the only real two and twos are easier to come by than big men. If you dont like bennet (and read doug gillespie at CBS this morning on bennett) then Id say take cody or shabaaz…but mostly i would look for good big men. Gortat is all you have of any quality at all and he wants to leave.

  • steppxxxxz

    with due respect., you DONT HAVE ANY GOOD YOUNG PLAYERS. Thats the problem,. Who is good?????????????????? The morris twins? No, thats why you got the extra one for a crappy second round pick. Marshall cant shoot, cant guard anyone. And people knew this when he entered the draft. Two drafts in  a row were busts.You could have had any number of quality guys instead of marshall. Only Dragic is any good, really. He’s a stud. build around him. But hire a real coach…….a guy who demands respect (because clearly hunter doesnt) and send off Gortat and his bitching and buy out the hopeless cancer that is Beasley. Id keep dragic and Tucker…..maybe trade dudely who is good, but is a better trade asset, and the rest can leave. Id re sign O neil actually. Then hope Anthony Bennet is still there when you pick.

    • SkyBill40

      @steppxxxxz I wouldn’t exactly call the two Morris twins busts. Both are far better than Marshall who IS a bust, so let’s be fair. Though I’m not a fan of the lack of movement on the part of the front office, picking up the other Morris (who was a first round pick) for a likely worthless and unproductive second round pick is a good move.
      Dragic is good, but he clearly needs more help. Beasley was never that guy and his signing only further illustrates the lack of sense in the FO. If he’s not traded this offseason of before the next deadline, I’ll be shocked and outraged. Gortat is one I’d keep since he’s one of the few bright spots on the team. Yeah, he’s bitching and complaining.. but that’s because the team sucks and they’ve done nothing to remedy that. Imagine how bad things would be had they not scooped up Scola on the cheap?