For being the worst team in the league, the Celtics sure didn't show it on Wednesday night. But I think I figured out what their problem is (please note - I know this is nothing new - it's just something I noticed because I don't watch them a lot): they just can't finish games. The players play hard, it seems like they're close at the end of a lot of games, but for some reason they just can't close it out. But eventually they'll get there and when they do, they'll be scary.
The Suns had a few double-digit leads on the Celtics last night but every time they were about to put the team away with a clutch three point shot or a monster dunk, Delonte West was there to shoot a three and then Al Jefferson would make a dunk to get them back within 3 or within 5.
For some reason, Amare was having a hard time guarding Jefferson last night. It seemed like he was having a hard time moving laterally and there were a few instances where Jefferson went right around Amare for a dunk. But I don't know that it is something to worry about long term. Amare may have just had an off night.
The player of the game last night was Shawn Marion. He held Paul Pierce to 24 points. Doesn't sound that great? Well, Pierce had to get those points by taking 20 shots and only making 7 of them. Any time you can keep Paul Pierce off his game, that's good news.
The Suns had some huge rebounders last night with Amare and Kurt both picking up 12 rebounds and Marion contributing with 11 more. And Amare added 32 points to go along with his rebounds. Steve Nash only played 34 minutes (4 Suns players played more minutes than he did) and in those 34 minutes he had 13 assists and 14 points. Steve's shot still isn't back. It looks like he has to push it instead of shoot it but the defenders still can't stay off of him because Steve at 50% is still better than most point guards at 100%.
Leandro Barbosa also kept the team in the game with his 6 three point shots. It seemed like every time the Celtics turned around and had the Suns on the ropes, they would pass it over to Leandro Barbosa for a three.
The game seemed to be a little sloppy at times as can be seen by the 14 turnovers by the Suns. But overall, a win is a win. The Suns next five games include Minnesota, Atlanta, Indiana, Philadelphia and then Indiana again. The 4 game road trip they are about to embark on will be good to get the team back on track and to see where they are mentally.
After that trip, they've got a lot of hard games against Western Conference opponents so it's important to win the next 5. Next game is Friday against Minnesota.