Celtics Vs. Suns: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett Ejected In Celtics' 88-71 Loss

Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett were ejected and the Boston Celtics were defeated by the Phoenix Suns, 88-71, at U.S. Airways Center on Friday night. Garnett finished with 18 points and nine rebounds and Paul Pierce had 14 points. Read more at SB Nation Arizona, as well as our team blogs, CelticsBlog and Bright Side of the Sun.

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Phoenix 88, Boston 71: Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett Ejected In Celtics' Loss

Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett were ejected as the Boston Celtics were unable to find their stride on Friday night, losing to the Phoenix Suns, 88-71, at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.

Rivers' ejection came during a timeout with 4:33 remaining in the second quarter. Steve Javie, the official who ejected the Celtics' head coach, did not give an explanation for his decision to toss Rivers.

Garnett, who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, was ejected with 4:07 remaining in the fourth quarter after hitting the Suns' Channing Frye in the groin during a three-point attempt. Frye fell to the floor in pain, but quickly got up and confronted Garnett.

Tempers flared in the ensuing moments, and several players from both teams got in the face of their opponents. When the players cooled off, Garnett was charged with a personal foul and two technical fouls, resulting in an automatic ejection. Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson also received technical fouls in the minor scuffle.

Phoenix (21-24) was awarded with six free throws as a result of the debacle, three of which came as a result of Boston's technical fouls. Steve Nash (13 points, 10 assists) made two of three free throws and Frye (five points, five rebounds) made two of his three free throws. 

Paul Pierce finished with 14 points, Ray Allen had eight points and Rajon Rondo added seven points and six assists for the Celtics. Marquis Daniels scored six points and Nate Robinson totaled four points for Boston.

Marcin Gortat amassed 19 points and 17 rebounds to pace the Suns. Vince Carter scored 17 points and both Robin Lopez and Mickael Pietrus had 11 points for Phoenix.

Boston shot a dismal 34.2% from the field (27-for-79) and 11.1% from three-point range (2-for-18). Phoenix made 43.2% of its field goals (32-for-74) and shot 35.3% from long distance. 

To make matters worse, the Celtics turned the ball over 17 times and had 19 fouls. Boston also had 21 turnovers on Thursday night in its 88-78 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Boston is off until Sunday afternoon when it faces the archrival Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of the 2010 NBA Finals. The Lakers are coming off of a 100-95 loss to the lowly Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

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Celtics Vs. Suns: Boston, Phoenix Square Off In Arizona

It wasn't pretty, but the Celtics got the job done against the Portland Trail Blazers, winning 88-78 in the first game of their four-game West coast road trip on Thursday night.

Boston looks to notch its second straight road win tonight when it faces Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns at 10:30 p.m. EST at U.S. Airways Center (TV/Radio: ESPN, CSNNE/WEEI).

This is the first meeting between the two teams this season, and the Suns won both games against the Celtics last year. Boston lost the first match-up with Phoenix last season, 110-103, at TD Garden on November 6th. The Celtics also dropped their next game against the Suns on December 30th, losing 116-98. 

Recent history is on the Suns' side as well, as Phoenix has topped Boston in seven of the last 10 meetings. In addition, the Celtics have lost 10 of their last 14 games in Arizona.

In their win over the Trail Blazers last night, Boston (35-10) had 21 turnovers and 18 fouls. Paul Pierce scored 17 points and had four assists before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with a right thigh injury. Ray Allen had 18 points and Rajon Rondo added 11 points and five assists.

While the Celtics' numbers weren't pretty, the Trail Blazers faired far worse, finishing with a 36.7% field goal percentage and 15 turnovers. Despite the sloppy play, Portland kept itself in the game until the final minutes.

"[Portland] played extremely hard tonight, and you knew they would (by) reading the papers about how physical they were going to be with us," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "When we read that we actually like it. That means [the game] is going to be played our way." (via SB Nation/Sports Network)

Through the midway point of the season, Pierce is the Celtics' leading scorer with 19 points per game. Allen is second in scoring, averaging 17.3 points, and Kevin Garnett (10 points, nine rebounds, nine assists vs. Portland) averages 14.9 points and a team-best 8.9 rebounds.

Boston has been bolstered by the return of Kendrick Perkins, who scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds in his first game back from a devastating knee injury he suffered during Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Perkins had 10 points and nine rebounds on Thursday night against the Trail Blazers.

The Celtics are also expected to have Shaquille O'Neal back in the lineup tonight. O'Neal missed the last two games with a minor hip injury. Considering that Jermaine O'Neal is out for another few weeks, the additions of Shaq and Perkins are big (literally and figuratively) for Boston.

Phoenix (20-24) has lost its last three games and is 6-7 in the month of January. In their last game, a 114-107 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, Steve Nash had 27 points and 15 assists and Vince Carter added 22 points and six boards.

"It was a tough loss," Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry said. "We didn't execute and complete plays very well. We have to find a way to dig ourselves out of this. I told the guys in the locker room that we are the only ones who can do that." (via SB Nation/Sports Network)

Nash, a two-time league MVP, leads Phoenix in scoring (17.3 PPG) and assists (11 APG). Carter, who was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Suns in mid-December, is averaging 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 15 games in Phoenix. Grant Hill is third in scoring, averaging 14.5 points, and also averages 4.9 rebounds.

Following Friday night's game, Boston heads to Los Angeles for a rematch of the 2010 NBA Finals. Phoenix will host New Orleans in its next game on Sunday evening.

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Celtics Vs. Suns: Paul Pierce May Be Unavailable For Boston Friday Night

Paul Pierce was forced out of Thursday night's win in Portland with two minutes remaining and headed to the locker room. The official diagnosis from the team is that Pierce has a bruised right thigh, but some reports are still listing it as a bruised right knee. 

Pierce originally hurt it in the third quarter but continued to play. 

"It just felt a little sore there in the fourth," Pierce said. "I think it's just a knee bruise. It just sort of wore on me as the game went on. It's just stuff that happens throughout the course of a game - banging knees, turning ankles. That's all it was."

Either way, Pierce is questionable for Friday night's game in Phoenix and will likely be a game-time decision. He was seen leaving the locker room without any noticeable effects besides some swelling.

"Hopefully it doesn't swell up too much," Pierce said. "It swelled up a little bit, but not too bad. Hopefully, it'll be all right for [Friday]."

Pierce finished Thursday night with 17 points in 35 minutes. If he can't go Friday night against the Suns, it's likely that Marquis Daniels or Von Wafer will start in his place. 

The Celtics and Suns tip at 10:30 p.m. EST, on CSN and ESPN. 

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