The Boston Celtics resume play after a lengthy break courtesy of the All-Star weekend by heading out to the desert to face one of the NBA’s biggest surprises this season, the Phoenix Suns.
Boston may still be dreaming dreams of making it to the playoffs this season, but the Suns are one better, as they are living the dream. Phoenix currently sits in second place in the Pacific Division at 31-21, and are hanging onto the sixth spot in the Western Conference overall. It’s absolutely remarkable what first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek has managed to do with this squad, which is led by the backcourt duo of Gerald Green (14.6 PPG) and Goran Dragic (20.3 PPG). Green is coming off a season-high 36 points against the Denver Nuggets last night, which is impressive considering that he only scored 9 in the first half, as he was in foul trouble early. Trying to slow these two gunners down is going to be a huge challenge for the Celtics tonight.
While Phoenix is fighting to improve its playoff position, the Celtics are on the cusp of improving their chances of making the playoffs . . . next year. With the NBA trade deadline set for 3 p.m. tomorrow, there is little doubt that President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge will be spending the next 24 hours trying to acquire lottery picks or a promising young player who will join promising Boston players such as Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. Trade rumors have been circling over this team’s head for a few months now, and while things are quiet as of the time that I am writing this, you have to wonder what it feels like to be a player on a team where literally on one, not even your All-Star point guard, is untouchable. Hopefully, the guys are able to block out all of the trade talk and retain their mental toughness for tonight’s match-up.
Boston is an atrocious 4-18 against Western Conference teams this season, and has lost 11 of its last 12 games against teams from out West. The starting five is going to have to play lights-out if it wants to steal a win away from the Suns, who are 17-9 at home in the US Airwaves Center and 7-3 in their last ten games.
Tonight’s game is set to tip-off at 9 p.m. Follow our very own Trey Adell on Twitter – @HoudiniCeltics – and check back in for his take on the game after the action is done!