National Basketball Association
Phoenix at Boston
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, March 24, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Celtics are putting the heat on Cleveland and aim to create more pressure when they host the lowly Phoenix Suns on Friday. Boston has won five of its last six games and sits just one behind the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers with 10 contests remaining.
The Celtics won the first two contests of their six-game homestand by beating Washington and Indiana with a pair of solid efforts. "Things are clicking for us," Boston point guard Isaiah Thomas told reporters. "We're playing at a level that's kind of high right now." Phoenix is limping to the finish with six consecutive losses and was routed 126-98 on Thursday by Brooklyn - the worst team in the NBA. The Suns have dropped 50 games in back-to-back seasons for the second time in franchise history, the other occasion being the 1973-74 and 1974-75 campaigns.
7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, CSN Northeast (Boston)ABOUT THE SUNS (22-50):
Coach Earl Watson was greatly disappointed by being blown out by the Nets and let his team know about it afterward. "The gist of it is, take pride in what you do, play the right way and understand the only thing that matters is the guys that are on the court," Watson told reporters, "because it's tough to go out there every night, not have enough to rotate and then you have to stand in front of the cameras and do interviews." Shooting guard Devin Booker poured in 28 points against Brooklyn but is just 22-of-81 shooting over his last four games.ABOUT THE CELTICS (46-26):
Thomas has topped 20 points in eight consecutive games, beginning with a 35-point effort in a loss to the Suns on March 5. He sat out two contests, including a loss to Philadelphia, with a knee injury last week and is just 16-of-40 shooting in two games since his return despite scoring 25 points in both tilts. Backcourt mate Avery Bradley averaged 19 points and 8.5 rebounds in the two wins and has scored in double digits in all 11 games played this month.BUZZER BEATERS
1. PG Tyler Ulis drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the host Suns a 109-106 victory over the Celtics earlier this month.
2. Boston backup C Kelly Olynyk is averaging 10.2 points on 19-of-27 shooting over his last five contests.
3. Phoenix SF T.J. Warren (foot) missed Thursday's game and is questionable to play against the Celtics.PREDICTION:
Celtics 118, Suns 96
Stats and Records