Feb 19, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) reacts in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics Open Road Trip With A Spirited 100-94 Loss In Phoenix

At one point during the second quarter of tonight’s Boston Celtics-Phoenix Suns game, with the Celtics trailing by 11, I must admit

Feb 19, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) takes a shot under pressure from Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) in the first quarter at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

that I found myself Tweeting that the NBA trade talk I was reading would wind up being more interesting than the game I was watching.

Turns out I was way wrong.

After all, the only real news that broke tonight was the trade that sent Steve Blake out of Los Angeles and down the road to golden State.  Meanwhile, the Celtics and Suns battled back-and-forth in a match that saw both teams erase double-digit deficits, only to see the Celtics fall apart in the fourth to lose a game they could have won.

I had not been able to watch Phoenix in action before tonight, and I have to say that I would be happy and looking forward to the future if I was a Suns fan.  Goran Dragic was more than happy to engage in a duel with fellow point guard Rajon Rondo, Gerald Green took my breath away a few times, Markieff Morris hit some clutch shots, and P.J. Tucker proved he is more than just a flopper – he’s also a guy who makes things interesting by committing bone-headed fouls to keep the opposition in he game in the closing minutes!

Meanwhile, Boston had one of those up-and-down sort of games that make you want to cry, “Just trade everyone already!” at the screen, which I may have done once or twice.  Three times, max.  I don’t really mean it – there’s plenty of players I want to see the team retain – and the fact that Avery Bradley didn’t make the road trip adds to the lack of defense I saw on display numerous times tonight.    Rajon Rondo had an okay night, as he scored 18 points (tied for game-high, and dished the rock ten times, but he missed some shots right at the rim and forced a terrible shot late in the game with the Cs trailing by only three points.   Jeff Green had one of those nights that start off with him making me think he is going to explode, and by the end of the night I’m surprised to see he scored 17 points, since he just so sort of disappeared, as usual.  Brandon Bass was the most reliable player for Boston tonight, which means he is sure to be traded tomorrow, since he will make any playoff team that lands him better, no doubt about it.  After that, everyone else’s play was just various shades of, “Meh.”

I should not really complain, because the game was up-and-down and provided plenty of highlights.  Boston managed to erase all but two points of an early eleven-point deficit, opened the third on a huge run only to be outscored 15-1 to close the quarter, then regained its composure to keep from getting blown out in the fourth.  I love Boston’s competitive spirit, and even with Rondo missing some easy buckets in the paint it was easy to see how much better the offense is when he is on the floor (Boston was +16 when Rondo played tonight).  I’ll be pretty upset if the Celtics do wind up trading him, because you have to wonder just how good the Celtics can be next year if Rondo spends the entire season playing alongside the likes of Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and a kid like Jabari Parker, Julius Randle – you get the picture.  He’s nearly good enough to get this rag-tag roster to win now – think how much better he’ll play next season with some more talent around him.

The Celtics next play on Friday against their long-time rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.  It will interesting to see what the two teams look like once the NBA trade deadline comes and goes, so keep checking in with us here as we get ready for what could be a crazy day in Beantown!

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