Balanced Suns hold off Celtics, 100-94
Phoenix Suns' Marcus Morris (15) is fouled by Boston Celtics' Kelly Olynyk (41) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo (9) greets Phoenix Suns' Gerald Green prior to the opening tip of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Boston Celtics' Jeff Green, right, scores against Phoenix Suns' Gerald Green (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Boston Celtics' Brandon Bass (30) has his shot blocked by Phoenix Suns' Miles Plumlee (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Boston Celtics' Jared Sullinger dunks as Phoenix Suns' Channing Frye (8) watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX – Markieff Morris scored 18 points to lead six Phoenix players in double figures and the Suns held on to beat the Boston Celtics, 100-94, last night.
Goran Dragic and Gerald Green added 17 points apiece for Phoenix. Channing Frye had 15, among them a crucial 3-pointer with 1:20 left.
Markieff’s twin brother, Marcus, scored 10 of his 11 in the second half, including a 32-footer at the third-quarter buzzer. P.J. Tucker had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, who took the lead for good with a 17-0 second-half run, then used free throws to hold off the Celtics at the end.
Rajon Rondo had 18 points and 10 assists for the Celtics. Brandon Bass also had 18 and Jeff Green added 17 points.
Boston played for the first time since the All-Star break. The Suns were coming off a 112-107 overtime win at Denver on Tuesday night.
The Suns took the lead for good by scoring the final 12 of the third quarter and first five of the fourth, going up 71-61 on Marcus Morris’s dunk with 9:45 to play.
Boston, though, came back, and Kelly Olynyk’s 3-pointer from the corner cut Phoenix’s lead to 88-86 with 3:59 to play. Phoenix made four of six free throws to make it 92-86, then Gerald Wallace’s two free throws sliced the lead to 92-88.
Frye made a 3, the Suns’ first field goal in 5:07, and Phoenix led 95-88 with 1:20 to play.
It was Phoenix’s only field goal in the last 6:27.
Jeff Green’s two free throws with 30 seconds to play cut it to 97-94. Dragic missed a reverse layup and Boston got the ball with 23 seconds to go. But rather than try for a game-tying 3, the Celtics went for two. Rondo missed a driving layup and Jared Sullinger couldn’t score on the rebound, then Gerald Green put it away with two free throws with 10.9 seconds to go.
The Celtics outscored Phoenix 16-4 to start the second half to lead 66-56, but the Suns got the last dozen of the quarter, capped by Marcus Morris’s long one at the buzzer.
The Suns never trailed in the first half but were up only 52-50 at the break.
In the first half, the Celtics scored 18 points off 14 turnovers, the Suns just two points off eight Boston turnovers.
Phoenix had only four turnovers in the second half to Boston’s six.
∎ The Celtics opened a four-game road trip.
∎ Phoenix matched its season best of 11 games above .500.
∎ Boston fell to 4-19 against the Western Conference.
∎ Bass, who didn’t score in the fourth quarter, fell two shy of his season high.
∎ Sullinger limped off with a twisted ankle with 10.9 seconds to play.
Timberwolves 104, Pacers 91
Kevin Love had 42 points and 16 rebounds, Ricky Rubio added a career-high 17 assists, and Minnesota beat Indiana.
J.J. Barea scored 12 points off the bench as the Wolves took control early against the Eastern Conference leaders.
Paul George led Indiana with 35 points, but managed just two in the fourth quarter as the Pacers lost for the third time in five games, never once taking a lead.
Knicks 98, Pelicans 91
Carmelo Anthony capped a 42-point performance with three clutch baskets in the last two minutes, and New York snapped a three-game skid.
A night after losing at Memphis, New York blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead before Anthony, coming off a 30-point outing in the All-Star game in the same arena Sunday, took over by hitting a pair of pull-up jumpers from the left side of the lane. He hit the first of them over Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis, who blocked five shots in the game.
Wizards 114, Hawks 97
John Wall scored 21 points and Washington recovered after almost blowing a 20-point lead to beat reeling Atlanta.
Paul Millsap had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Elton Brand, a fill-in starter at center, had 20 points and 11 boards for the Hawks, who have lost seven straight.
Bulls 94, Raptors 92
Carlos Boozer scored 20 points, D.J. Augustin had 19 against his former team and Chicago won its fourth straight game.
Kirk Hinrich scored 19 points, Jimmy Butler had 16 and Taj Gibson fouled out with 10 as the Bulls won for the fifth time in six games and halted Toronto’s winning streak at three. Joakim Noah had eight points and 13 assists for the Bulls.
Cavaliers 101, Magic 93
Kyrie Irving scored 22 points and Cleveland won its sixth straight game.
Irving, chosen MVP of the NBA All-Star game Sunday, paced a balanced offense that extended the Cavaliers’ longest winning streak since they won eight in a row in March 2010. That was LeBron James’s final season in Cleveland.
Bobcats 116, Pistons 98
Al Jefferson scored 29 points, Kemba Walker had 24 points and a career-high 16 assists, and Charlotte beat Detroit for the second straight night.
The win gives the Bobcats (25-30) a sweep of the season three-game series and a 21⁄2-game lead over the Pistons in the race for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Jefferson, who had 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in Tuesday’s win at Detroit, went 12-of-20 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. He has scored at least 20 points in 16 of the last 18 games.