Two of the most in-form teams, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics, will clash at TD Garden tonight. The Celtics will be hoping to save the season series after losing the previous encounter between the two sides in February.
The Phoenix Suns have continued their terrific form throughout the season, winning 13 of their last 15 games. Their season record stands at 42-16 as of now, helping them bolster their second spot in the Western Conference.
The Phoenix Suns will be flying high on confidence after beating the East leaders' Philadelphia 76ers by 116-113 in their last game. The star duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker shone once again for the Suns, leading them to their 42nd win of the season. The former scored a team-high 28 points and dished out eight assists, while the latter ended the night with 19 points and seven assists.
The Boston Celtics, on the other hand, finally seem to have discovered their optimum potential in the last few weeks. After a torrid start to the campaign, which lasted until a couple of weeks into the second half of the season, the C's managed to record eight wins in their last ten outings.
Their terrific run helped them improve their season record to 31-27, propelling them to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
However, in their last outing, the Boston Celtics endured a disappointing 96-102 loss to the shorthanded Bulls. Jaylen Brown scored 23 points, while Jayson Tatum had 14 points, ten assists, and 13 rebounds as he notched up his first career triple-double. But their efforts went in vain as the Celtics' bench severely underperformed.
Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics - Injury Report
Jae Crowder suffered an ankle sprain in the last game and is likely to miss out against the Boston Celtics tonight. Abdel Nader is the only player ruled out as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
The Boston Celtics have several injury concerns ahead of this matchup.
Jayson Tatum is listed as questionable because of an ankle problem, while Jaylen Brown (shoulder) is listed as doubtful for the game against the Phoenix Suns tonight. Meanwhile, Kemba Walker hasn't fully recovered from a non-COVID related illness and is listed as day-to-day. But coach Stevens is hopeful that he might make his return to action tonight, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
Robert Williams III and Evan Fournier are the only players ruled out, with the former nursing a knee injury and the latter missing out due to COVID protocols.
Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics - Predicted Lineups
The Phoenix Suns could make one change to their starting lineup from the last game, depending on Jae Crowder's availability.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker are likely to start in the backcourt as usual, while Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton will mostly retain their places in the lineup. Dario Saric could be replacing Crowder for this game.
The likes of Cameron Johnson and Torrey Craig will likely play the most rotation minutes coming off the bench for the Phoenix Suns.
The Boston Celtics might have to make a lot of changes depending on the availability of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker. However, Tatum and Brown have made it to the lineup, regardless of being on the injury report in recent times. And considering the quality of opposition, they might feature in this game too.
That said, the Celtics could start their strongest lineup, with Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart in the backcourt, while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be the two forwards. Tristan Thompson will likely retain his place as the starting center.
The likes of Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams and Romeo Langford are expected to play the most minutes coming off the bench.
Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics - Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Chris Paul l Shooting Guard - Devin Booker l Small Forward - Mikal Bridges l Power Forward - Dario Saric l Center - Deandre Ayton.
Point Guard - Kemba Walker l Shooting Guard - Marcus Smart l Small Forward - Jaylen Brown l Power Forward - Jayson Tatum l Center - Tristan Thompson.