NBA Game Summary - Phoenix at Boston
(Monday, January 19th)
Final Score: Boston 104, Phoenix 87
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Rajon Rondo had 23 points and seven assists to lead a potent Boston attack, and the Celtics rolled to a huge first-half lead before downing the Phoenix Suns, 104-87, for their fifth straight win.
Ray Allen had 20 points for Boston, which has a 13-game lead on Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division and moved to 34-9 for the season following a four- game skid.
"I think we started on the defensive end, and we just kept our intensity the entire night," said Rondo. "It shows a lot about where we come from the whole time and the halftime we just kept saying 48 minutes, we've got to put it together for two halves. We did a pretty good job of it."
Kevin Garnett contributed 16 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who also received 12 points, eight boards and eight assists from Paul Pierce.
Shaquille O'Neal notched 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, losers in three of their last four games. Louis Amundson chipped in 13 points, while Steve Nash ended with 12 points and eight assists in defeat.
"I think it was such an outclassing if you will, from the beginning that it didn't look promising from the start," said Nash. "Body language, connectivity, all those things just seemed to be lopsided. It was never to be, that's for sure."
Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix's leading scorer, was limited to three points on 0-of-7 shooting.
"We got a good old spanking tonight," said Suns coach Terry Porter. "They really came out and turned the intensity on us early and we didn't respond."
Pierce accounted for the game's first six points and the Celtics were on their way to a convincing win. Rondo's bucket midway through the quarter expanded the cushion to 21-7.
Allen played a big role in the opening quarter with a third of his team's points as Boston held a commanding 30-15 lead after 12 minutes.
The Suns were no match for Boston's offense and it showed in the second quarter. A layup by Brian Scalabrine expanded the difference to 47-19 and a pair of foul shots from Rondo made it 56-24 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the half. It was 64-34 at the intermission.
Rondo's jam represented the final Boston points of the third quarter as the hosts led 89-58 going to the last period. The Celtics had their reserves in for the last quarter and cruised to their third straight double-digit win.
"We felt like we have been playing better and this is a great test for us," said Pierce. "Not taking away anything from New Jersey and Toronto...they're not as good as Phoenix. So this is more of a test for us to maintain our consistency especially with a big road trip coming up in Orlando and Miami."
Monday's win, on Martin Luther King Jr. day, came one day prior to the U.S. inaugurating it's first African-American president as Barack Obama is sworn into office Tuesday. After the game, Allen was on his way to the nation's capital to attend the historic event.
"I'm ecstatic, just being able to step into history, and be a part of it," said Allen. "We're all a part of it whether there or not, but to actually be down that at DC, I'm just tickled, to be able to participate, and so I look forward to it."
Phoenix is 1-1 on a six-game road trip. The Suns still have upcoming games against New York, Charlotte, Atlanta and Washington on the trek...Boston is 21-2 at home, while Phoenix is 11-8 on the road...Grant Hill scored 10 for the Suns...Boston has won the last two meetings after losing five in a row in the series.
01/20 00:16:04 ET