Suns 79, Celtics 71: Marcin Gortat Invades Garden, Phoenix Burns C's

Marcin Gortat invaded TD Garden and took over, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns defeated the Boston Celtics, 79-71. Ray Allen scored 14 points and Paul Pierce scored 12 in the C's loss, which fell to 5-9.

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Paul Pierce Trade Rumors: Forward Addresses Rumors, Wants To Retire With Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce addressed the trade rumors that have begun to swirl in his path after Friday night's loss to the Phoenix Suns, saying he is not affected by reports that Danny Ainge would consider trading Pierce or any of the Big Three.

"No, you can't pay attention to that. It's part of the business. You just have to continue to do your job, as a professional, each and every night. And that's about it."

"What makes me want to play well is our record. That's more than anything. I don't really read the papers, I don't really monitor everything that's been said. I'm just more concerned about this group, what goes on in this locker room and with my teammates." (via ESPN Boston)

Pierce said he is "more than happy" with the Celtics organization and appreciates everything the Celtics have done for him during his career. Asked whether he still wants to retire as a Celtic, Pierce replied, "Of course, I feel that way. Yeah."

For more Celtics coverage, visit our team page or our blog CelticsBlog.


Jared Dudley's Unusual Style Of Play Fits Nicely With Phoenix Suns

Jared Dudley is an unusual player for the Phoenix Suns, but as the former Boston College basketball star is proving, being unusual isn't always a bad thing.


Rajon Rondo's Absence Hurts Boston Celtics In Loss To Phoenix Suns

BOSTON - It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that not having a player Rajon Rondo will usually have a negative impact on your team. Such was the case for the Boston Celtics, who fell to the Phoenix Suns on Friday without Rondo.

Rondo, who is recovering from a sore right wrist suffered on Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors, was replaced in the starting lineup by second-year guard Avery Bradley, who finished with 10 points and one assist in 33 minutes.

"I felt comfortable starting the game," said Bradley, who made his first career start Friday night. "I thought I would be nervous but I wasn't, because of my teammates. I thought we executed but sometimes we didn't. We'll fix it."

Bradley started the game on a shaky note, missing two wide open jumpers and missing a feed from Paul Pierce while heading to the basket. Bradley got his act together, though, and finished 5-of-9 from the floor and also had four boards.

"He did a good job," Suns guard Steve Nash (11 points, nine assists) said about Bradley. "He hustled defensively and made a few shots so he's learning and he's a young player so it's great experience for him."

Even though Bradley did recover, there's no beating around the bush: Rondo was missed. Pierce noted that the pace of the game was a lot slower, which in turn led to less shot creation for the Celtics.

"Definitely the pace was a lot slower," said Pierce. "He creates so much for our offense. He's our floor general. A lot of things we do go through him. So we just tried to change up some things, you know we had Avery Bradley out there, but it was valuable experience for him out there tonight to be able to go out there and play the minutes he played tonight."

Pierce wasn't the only one who noticed a difference. Nash certainly took notice as well.

"With him out of the line up its going to change the team," Nash said. "I think Rondo makes the court open up, puts pressure on the defense and tonight we could close down the court and take away their space."

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers didn't offer any new information on Rondo's condition prior to the game, saying that the decision for Rondo not to play came on Thursday night. Boston next plays the Wizards on Sunday.

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Paul Pierce Responds To Celtics Trade Rumors About The Big Three

BOSTON - Paul Pierce couldn't dodge the question forever. After taking a night off from the media following the Celtics' win over the Raptors, Pierce addressed the media about his team's loss to the Suns, and more importantly, the rumors.

Pierce has reportedly been drawing interest from several contending teams according to Yahoo! Sports. That report led to Celtics president and general manager Danny Ainge admitting that, if it would help the team, he'd trade the Big Three.

"You can't pay attention to that," Pierce said. "It's part of the business. You just have to do your job as a professional each and every day, and that's about it."

Pierce had 12 points and a team-high six assists against Phoenix, while Ray Allen scored a team-high 14 and Kevin Garnett finished with 10 points and five rebounds. All things considered, the veteran trio didn't do much to quell the trade rumors.

Yet that's not what motivates Pierce: it's the Celtics' 4-9 record.

"What makes me want to play well is our record, more than anything" said Pierce.

Pierce, Allen and Garnett will need to silence the critics quickly if they intend to stay together through the end of the season and beyond, starting with the Wizards game on Sunday.

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Vs. Suns: Pierce, Allen, Pietrus, Bradley Postgame Interviews

BOSTON - The winning ways didn't last very long at TD Garden, as the Rajon Rondo-less Boston Celtics were toppled by Marcin Gortat and the Phoenix Suns, 79-71, on Friday night in Boston. Gortat led all scorers with 24 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for Phoenix, which maintained a consistent performance to shoot 44.9 percent.

The absence of Rondo was very apparent for Boston, which had 20 assists in the game and no player had more than six assists. Avery Bradley, who started in place of Rondo, scored 10 points and had one assist in 33 minutes for the Celts.

Ray Allen provided a scoring punch for Boston, leading the team with 14 points. Paul Pierce added 12 points and both Kevin Garnett and Bradley reached 10 points. Brandon Bass provided a boost off the bench, finishing with 11 points.

Pierce, Allen, Pietrus and Bradley spoke with the media after the loss. Here's the audio.

AUDIO: Mickael Pietrus Postgame (1-20-12)

AUDIO: Avery Bradley Postgame (1-20-12)

AUDIO: Paul Pierce Postgame (1-20-12)

AUDIO: Ray Allen Postgame (1-20-12)

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Vs. Suns Final Score: Marcin Gortat, Phoenix Beat C's, 79-71

BOSTON - Marcin Gortat's early outburt of 14 first-quarter points charged the Phoenix Suns, who fought off a third-quarter rally from the Boston Celtics to escape with a 79-71 win and hand the C's their sixth loss in seven games on Friday night.

Gortat finished with a game-leading 24 and grabbed 12 rebounds points for Phoenix, which buried 31-of-69 baskets to shoot 44.9 percent. Steve Nash added 11 points and nine assists, Grant Hill scored nine points and had eight rebounds and former Boston College star Jared Dudley scored 12 points off the bench in the win for the Suns.

Ray Allen's 14 points, six rebounds and five assists paced the Celtics, who were held to 40.5 percent shooting. Paul Pierce had 12 points and six assists, Kevin Garnett and Avery Bradley scored 10 points each and Brandon Bass had 11 points and six boards off the bench. Mickael Pietrus, playing against his former team, scored six points for the Celtics.

Gortat took over the first quarter, scoring 10 consecutive points and finishing the period with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting as the Suns took a 20-15 advantage after one. The Celtics held Gortat to two points in the second quarter, but Phoenix still managed to outscore Boston, 26-20, and took a 46-35 lead into the intermission.

Pietrus buried a three, his only points of the night to that point, to give Boston a three-point edge, 53-50, midway through the third quarter, but again, Phoenix didn't fall off and took a 60-55 lead heading into the final quarter. Pierce had four and Jermaine O'Neal totaled four points in the quarter while three players scored four points apiece for the Suns.

Phoenix opened the fourth with four straight points to grab a nine-point lead, 64-55, and held the Celtics to eight points through nine minutes. The Suns controlled the pace in the final three minutes to pick up their sixth win of the year.

Boston is off Saturday and heads to our nation's capital to face the Wizards on Sunday.

Final - 1.20.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Phoenix Suns 20 26 14 19 79
Boston Celtics 15 20 20 16 71

Complete Coverage >

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Vs. Suns Halftime Score: Marcin Gortat, Phoenix Lead 46-35

BOSTON - Marcin Gortat ran circles around the Boston Celtics in the first quarter, scoring 14 points (one more than Boston in the opening quarter) and finished the half with 16 points as the Phoenix Suns took a 46-35 lead at the break.

Gortat was nearly unstoppable in the first quarter, making 7-of-11 baskets and scoring 10 straight points to put Phoenix up 16-8 with 4:32 left in the quarter and the Suns took a 20-14 advantage after 12 minutes. Gortat's production slowed down in the second, but the Suns still outscored the Celtics, 26-20.

Avery Bradley, starting in place of the injured Rajon Rondo, scored six points in the half after a shaky start, in which he missed two open jumpers and mishandled a feed from Paul Pierce (six points) early in the half. Brandon Bass scored eight points off the bench, Ray Allen added seven points and Kevin Garnett had six points for Boston. Mickael Pietrus, who was waived by the Suns prior to signing with the Celtics this season, had zero points on two missed jumpers prior to halftime.

Grant Hill scored seven points and Steve Nash totaled four points and five assists.

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Vs. Suns: Pregame News And Notes From TD Garden

BOSTON - As expected, the status of Rajon Rondo is the big news of the night prior to Friday's game between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns here at TD Garden. Unfortunately, Rondo -- who suffered a right wrist injury on Wednesday night against the Raptors -- will not play on Friday and second-year guard Avery Bradley will start.

Doc Rivers did not know a timetable for Rondo's possible return. Keyon Dooling is also out for the Celtics, even though he expected to return Friday night. In addition, Chris Wilcox is also out for Boston, leaving the C's three men down tonight.

Mickael Pietrus will have the opportunity to show what his former team, the Suns, is missing. Pietrus spoke to reporters prior to the game about his rocky departure from Phoenix (he was waived after a failed trade). Read more here.

Finally, former Boston College star Jared Dudley returns to the city with the Suns. I spoke with Dudley about his NBA career and the current state of BC hoops. Alvin Genrty, the Suns' coach, also chimed in. More on that Saturday.

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Vs. Suns: Rajon Rondo Out, Avery Bradley Starts On Friday

BOSTON - Rajon Rondo underwent an MRI on his right wrist on Thursday night, and the results came back negative. However, the Boston Celtics' start point guard will still be held out of Friday night's game against the Phoenix Suns.

Rondo suffered the injury following a flagrant foul on the Raptors' Linas Kleiza late in the third quarter of the Celtics' blowout win over Toronto on Wednesday night. Rondo, who led all scorers with 21 points before being injured, stayed in the game to take the two free throws (he made one of two) but left the game immediately afterwards and did not return.

This season, Rondo is averaging 15.0 points and 9.4 assists. Avery Bradley, who is averaging 2.4 points and half an assist off the bench this year, will start in his place. E'Twaun Moore will come off the bench behind Bradley.

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Vs. Suns: Mickael Pietrus Discusses Rocky Exit In Phoenix

BOSTON - If anyone will be looking to prove a point in Friday night's tilt between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns, it'[s swingman Mickael Pietrus. Pietrus, who was traded to Phoenix in the middle of last season, was traded away to the Raptors, but the deal fell through. Ultimately, the Suns wound up waiving Pietrus before he signed with Boston.

Pietrus injured his knee in March, which required offseason knee surgery. Even with the unrest in Phoenix, Pietrus had just one focus in the summer, and that was getting his knee in good shape.

"I was just trying to get my knee back, Pietrus said. "My knee got back and I'm really happy right now. I'm just trying to win championship and try to help my team get more wins...I'm very happy to be a Celtic."

Pietrus averaged 7.4 points and 2.0 boards in 38 games in Phoenix, but it wasn't meant to be.

"I have no idea why [it didn't work out]," Pietrus said. "I enjoyed myself playing with Steve Nash. That was always a dream for me, to be around Steve Nash. That's the only one memory that I have."

Pietrus did take issue with the fact that the Suns didn't inform him of his condition sooner.

"I was just trying to get my knee right," said Pietrus. "All I know is the doctor told me my knee was fine. At the end of the day when I got [in Boston] like a week after training camp, he told me [he] knew about [my] knee...I don't even know why he has his license. He's going to tell me that 'I know your knee was messed up and I didn't tell you anything'? That didn't make any sense to me."

Listen to the complete pregame interview of Mickael Pietrus below.

AUDIO: MIckael Pietrus Pregame Interview (1-19-12)

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Vs. Suns: Rajon Rondo (Sore Right Wrist) Doubtful For Friday

Rajon Rondo, who is dealing with a sore right wrist suffered in Wednesday's win over the Toronto Raptors, is doubtful for Friday night's game against the Phoenix Suns at TD Garden, according to Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

"It's still sore; I took like 10 Advil, so I'm OK," said Rondo. "I don't know [about Friday's game]. Hopefully I get a good night's rest. I'll be in treatment pretty much all day today. Other than that. We'll see tomorrow." (via ESPN Boston)

Related: Celtics Vs. Suns Preview

Rondo suffered the injury after being on the wrong end of a flagrant one foul from Linas Kleiza of the Raptors late in the third quarter. Rondo, who scored a game-high 21 points, stayed in the game to shoot the free throws but left the game immediately afterwards.

Rondo is averaging 15.0 points and 9.4 assists in 13 games this season.

For more Celtics and Suns coverage, visit both CelticsBlog and Bright Side Of The Sun.


Celtics Schedule 2012: Sub-.500 Teams On Deck For Boston

Phoenix, then Washington. The Boston Celtics won't have a chance this weekend to defeat a winning opponent for the first time this season, but they do have two golden opportunities to accumulate much-needed victories.

The Celtics begin the weekend Friday night at the TD Garden when they host the Phoenix Suns at 7:30 p.m. The Suns have struggled to a 2-5 road record, but Rajon Rondo's injured wrist could allow Steve Nash to run free. Rondo's considered doubtful for Friday -- if he sits, the Celtics will likely start second-year pro Avery Bradley, who is to Nash what a grade school music teacher is to Mozart.

Related: Celtics vs. Suns Preview

After hosting Phoenix, the Celtics will travel to Washington to face the Wizards on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Two of Boston's five wins have come against the Wizards, who unfathomably outlasted the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, 105-102. The Wizards are led by John Wall. They lose most of the time and are also known for providing amusing anecdotes, such as the following from Washington Post reporter Michael Lee's Twitter feed:

Flip said speech from Marine helped Wizards upset OKC. Jordan Crawford said it was something else. "They played some Tupac before the game."

For more Celtics coverage, visit our team page or visit our blog CelticsBlog.


Celtics Vs. Suns: Boston Tries To Build Winning Streak Against Phoenix

With Rajon Rondo likely sidelined with a right wrist injury, the Boston Celtics (5-8) host Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns (5-9) in search of their second straight win at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Friday at TD Garden (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).

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