Phoenix Suns' Frank Vogel reluctantly concedes ground to Celtics

The Phoenix Suns were taught a lesson by the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, and head coach Frank Vogel has had to admit a gap exists between the two.

Phoenix Suns v Boston Celtics
Phoenix Suns v Boston Celtics / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns entered Thursday night's nationally televised game against the Boston Celtics full of optimism. Their "Big 3" of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal were all healthy heading into the game, and the organization was 5-0 in games played this season in which all three of those players went off for over 20 points.

By night's end in Boston though it was a different story, with the Celtics revealing to a large audience the gap that still exists between the two. To further rub salt in the wounds - the Suns once again had all three stars score over 20 points - only this time it wasn't enough to pull out the win.

It was left to Suns' head coach Frank Vogel to pick through the rubble in the aftermath of the defeat, and he had to concede ground to the Celtics in the process.

Many feel that the Celtics are the obvious and really only choice to make it out of the Eastern Conference once the playoffs start, and this game was a timely reminder of that. They're deep and they possess two stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who are playing as well as they ever have.

Not only do they have two guards in Jrue Holiday and Derrick White who are among the best two-way guards in the entire league, but their whole roster can flat out shoot. Which is exactly what they did in knocking down an ridiculous 25-of-50 shots from deep, while the Suns could only muster an 11-of-31 performance. Which prompted the following from coach Vogel in the aftermath;

"We're just not quite where they are, yet. That's the key word, yet. We're going to keep growing, keep getting better, we're in our first year together. Those two guys (Tatum & Brown) have been together eight years or so."

Head coach Frank Vogel

Coach Vogel is not wrong in anything that he has said there, and it is true that Tatum and Brown have played their whole careers together. Current head coach Joe Mazzulla was also an assistant with the team before getting the top gig, and so was familiar not only with both star players, but also all of the other key people in the organization.

But the Suns don't have eight years to try and figure this thing out. Durant is 35-years-old, while Beal is 30 and has already had his fair share od injury issues so far this season. So much so that the prospect of trading him this summer should not be as outrageous as it may seem to see written down here.

The Suns also shouldn't be getting obliterated from long-range by an opponent either. Not when Grayson Allen is leading the league in shots from deep at 47.9 percent, with Durant 12th at 42.4 percent. The franchise also ditched Yuta Watanabe at the deadline to bring in another sniper in Royce O'Neale, only he has struggled in a lot of games since being brought over.

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He didn't have a single point in 27 minutes against the Celtics, despite being the first player off the bench for the Suns, and that in itself is part of the reason why a gap exists between themselves and the Celtics. The Suns have three stars - and more often than not - one of them is injured. Beyond that the rest of the roster is solid given the lack of cap space, but it is not on the level of other contenders.

The Celtics on the other hand have two stars and a much deeper bench with more clearly defined roles for everybody that they play. That's exactly why the gap exists between both organizations right now, and coach Vogel will known that closing in on the Celtics is going to take a longer than the 16 regular season games left and the hope that some other guys can step up and make some shots.