Booker, Ayton carry Suns past Celtics for 4th straight win

  • Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics during the second half of a basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. The Suns defeated the Celtics 111-103. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Phoenix Suns guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) celebrates after defeating the Boston Celtics in a basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. The Suns won 111-103. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Phoenix Suns guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) stuffs the ball back at Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) during the second half of a basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. The Suns defeated the Celtics 111-103. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren (12) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams (44) during the second half of a basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. The Suns defeated the Celtics 111-103. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36), and fans, celebrate after hitting a 3-point shot to end the second quarter of a basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over Boston Celtics forward Daniel Theis (27) during the second half of a basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. Ayton scored 23 as the Suns defeated the Celtics 111-103. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) passes the ball as he drives against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the second quarter of a basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket past Phoenix Suns guard De'Anthony Melton (14) and center Deandre Ayton, left, during the first quarter of a basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics center Aron Baynes (46) slams a dunk during the first quarter of a basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov calls to his players during the first quarter of a basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens calls to his players during the first quarter of a basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

Associated Press
Published: 12/19/2018 10:59:24 PM

BOSTON – Devin Booker had 25 points and eight assists, and Deandre Ayton added 23 points and 18 rebounds to lead the suddenly resurgent Phoenix Suns past the Boston Celtics, 111-103, on Wednesday night.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Suns since opening the season 4-24, giving Phoenix its first four-game winning streak since March 2015.

T.J. Warren scored 21 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 13 for the Suns.

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 29 points and Jayson Tatum had 18. The Celtics lost their second straight after winning eight in a row.

Boston center Aron Baynes broke a bone in his left hand early in the game and the team announced that he’ll be sidelined indefinitely.

The Suns led by six entering the final quarter and pushed it to 92-80 on Jamal Crawford’s 3-pointer from the top of the arc with just under 10 minutes to play.

They led 97-84 before Boston sliced it to five on Marcus Smart’s 3 with 1:49 to go. Warren was fouled by Smart taking a 3 on the ensuing possession and made all three free throws.

After a 3 by Irving, Oubre nailed a 3-pointer on the other end to help the Suns hold on.

Smart’s 3 at the second-quarter buzzer gave the Celtics a 62-59 halftime lead.

Boston grabbed an 11-point lead early in the first only to see the Suns come charging back with a 25-7 run over a 6½-minute stretch in the second.

Baynes blocked Ayton’s pass and shook his hand in visible pain before heading to the locker room during a stoppage in play.

Tip-ins

Suns: Warren went to the floor hard in the second quarter and walked slowly to the bench during a timeout. He did return to the game. ... Phoenix lost the first meeting between the teams in overtime at home on Nov. 8.

Celtics: C Al Horford missed his sixth straight game with a sore left knee. Boston coach Brad Stevens said Horford didn’t practice Tuesday but did some things on the court Wednesday morning. “Feeling better, getting better. Reassess pretty much every day,” Stevens said. ... F Marcus Morris also missed the game with a sore right knee. ... Boston shot 70.8 percent (17 of 24) in the first quarter.

Not quite as much

Booker had scored 38 points or more in his last three games against Boston, including 70 at TD Garden on March 24, 2017.

Busy stretch

The Celtics played their first in a stretch of a game every other day for the next 36 days.

Irving said it’s just about taking care of bodies and getting through the workload.

“You want to prepare yourself the best you know how,” he said. “It’s more about maintenance and survival right now.”

It was also their first of four games in a row at home, which culminates with a Christmas Day matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Nice company

Irving is the first Celtics player with five games of 20-plus points and 10-plus assists within the first 30 games of a season since Larry Bird did it in 1990-91.

Up next

Suns: At the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

Celtics: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.




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