Benchmark: Green, Sullinger power C’s
|01.09.13 at 9:48 pm ET|
Jeff Green scored 14 points and had three monstrous dunks while Jason Terry had 13 points and Jared Sullinger added a career-high 16 rebounds and 12 points as the bench powered the Celtics to their fourth straight win, 87-79, over the Suns Wednesday night at TD Garden. Green’s effort came on the one-year anniversary of the open heart surgery to fix his aortic valve. Suns center Marcin Gortat, rumored to be on the trading block, led the Suns with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Rajon Rondo returned from a one-game suspension, scoring eight points while adding eight assists for the Celtics, who opened a five-game homestand and improved to 18-17 on the season.
The Celtics started out slugglishly in the first quarter, falling behind by six early, 15-9, before scoring the next six points. Boston shot just 42 percent in the first 12 minutes but held Phoenix to 42 percent, and trailed 24-23.
In the second quarter, Jeff Green had a pair of electrifying slam dunks that highlighted a 14-2 spurt and put Boston up, 47-35. Green led the Celtics in the first half with 10 points while Avery Bradley had nine. The Celtics took a 53-41 lead to locker room at the half.
The third quarter started off well with a Kevin Garnett fadeaway jumper to increase the lead to 14, 55-41. But the Suns scored the next 17 points to take a three-point lead, 58-55. The Celtics recovered in time to take a 67-64 lead into the fourth quarter.
Another monstrous Green dunk with under eight minutes left in the fourth pushed the lead back to 12, 78-66. The Suns pulled to within nine, 82-73, and had the ball on a fast-break but former Boston College star Jared Dudley airmailed a 3-pointer with 2:51 left. But with 2:32 left Luis Scola hit a pair of free throws to make it 82-75. Then, after a turnover, Scola drew another foul and made a free throw to make it a six-point game before Sullinger responded with a floater in the lane to push the lead back to eight with 1:23 left. Jason Terry converted an uncontested layup with 1:03 left to make it 86-76 and send the fans to the exits.
Dudley finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Suns had two players with double-doubles on the night. The Celtics continue their five-game homestand on Friday against the Rockets at TD Garden. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.