NBA: Celtics rip Suns, continue dominance over West
The Boston Celtics looked like the best team in the NBA on Wednesday night, turning in a dominant effort on the road by beating the Phoenix Suns 125-98.
Five players scored in double figures for the Celtics, who had a 45-point lead with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each scored a team-high 25 points. Brown added seven rebounds and three assists. Tatum also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Celtics received 16 points from Malcom Brogdon, 14 points from Grant Williams and 12 points from Luke Kornet. Blake Griffin added nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Boston raised its road record to 10-3 and improved to 7-0 against Western Conference teams. The Suns fell to 12-3 at home.
Jayson Tatum 🤞 Jaylen Brown
The @celtics duo was locked in for their 3rd straight win!
— NBA (@NBA) December 8, 2022
“We were just really connected,” Tatum said. “We’re just making the right plays. We hit a lot of shots tonight.”
The Celtics, who lost to Golden State in last season’s NBA Finals, improved to 10-3 on the road.
“We’re happy with the way we’re playing,” Tatum said. “But we’re far from satisfied. This doesn’t mean anything if we don’t get back to where we want to get to (the NBA Finals) and get over that hump.
“It’s a long process but we’re trending in the right direction.”
Josh Okogie scored a game-high 28 points for Phoenix. Devin Booker (17), Cameron Payne (12) and Torrey Craig (11) also scored in double figures for the Suns. Phoenix shot 39.8 percent from the field (37 of 93) and 25 percent from 3-point range (8-for-32). The Suns also committed 18 turnovers.
Phoenix guard Chris Paul, a 12-time NBA All-Star, returned to the court after missing the last 14 games with a heel injury. He finished Wednesday’s game with four points, four assists and four rebounds in 24 minutes.
Paul, 37, was injured during a Nov. 7 game against the Philadelphia 76ers. He entered Wednesday’s matchup averaging 9.5 points and 9.4 assists in 10 games this season. The Suns went 9-5 when in his absence.
Boston led 31-21 after one quarter, 69-42 at halftime and 104-65 entering the fourth. Phoenix shot 35.4 percent from the floor (17 of 48) in the first half, when it was 1 of 16 on 3-point attempts.
Boston played without starting center Al Horford, who entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols Wednesday.
It was the third game of a six-game road trip for the Celtics, who improved to 3-0 on the trip.