Celtics lose to Suns yet again

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December 31, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, United States; Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) plays for the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Emanuel Terry (10) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylen Brown had 24 points and 11 rebounds on Friday, and Marcus Smart added 24 points and nine rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to the Phoenix Suns, 123-108, on a New Years Eve morning.

Ahead of the game, the Celtics observed a minute of silence in honor of Hall of Fame guard Sam Jones, who died Thursday at the age of 88. Jones won 10 championships in his 12 NBA seasons – all with Boston – from 1957 to 1969.

Josh Richardson scored 19 points, Romeo Langford added 16 and Grant Williams 15 to help the Celtics break their three-game slippage.

Also for Boston, Robert Williams III notched his first career triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and he added five blocks.

Devin Booker finished with 22 points to lead Phoenix, who have lost three of their last four games. Cameron Johnson scored 20 points, Jalen Smith added a career-high 19 points and Chris Paul had 14 points and eight assists for the Suns.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum missed his third straight game while under NBA health and safety protocols. Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom, Aaron Nesmith and Bruno Fernando of Boston have also been left out of the COVID protocol.

Phoenix played without star center Deandre Ayton with Jae Crowder, JaVale McGee and Abdel Nader in protocol. Frank Kaminsky was left out with a right knee injury for the Suns.

A first quarter round trip turned in Boston’s favor when Richardson’s 3-point pointer put the hosts definitively at 17-16 with 4:28 to go. The Celtics ended the opening period 18-4 up to rise 32-20 after one.

After the Celtics led by up to 30 points in the second quarter, they were leading 67-41 at halftime.

Phoenix reduced the deficit to 13 at 77-64 after a 3-point Mikal Bridges with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter. The Celtics regrouped to end the period 23-13 to take a 100-77 lead in the fourth.

The Suns pushed once again to come close to the late 11, but couldn’t come close.

– Media at field level

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