The Phoenix Suns take their two-game winning streak to Massachusetts for a faceoff with the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. It will be a battle between two of the hottest teams in the league on Thursday night in the NBA.
Gunning for their third straight road win, the Phoenix Suns hope they have the energy to play their third game in four nights and fourth in six days when they take on the Boston Celtics. On Wednesday, they took down the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers 116-113 and narrowly escaped a second overtime game.
A 102-96 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday snapped the Boston Celtics’ six-game winning streak. The game may prove costly if Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Jaylen Brown (shoulder), who both played against the Bulls, miss the Phoenix Suns match. The Celtics stars are questionable for the game.
Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics - Prediction
The Boston Celtics have a shot at upsetting the league’s second-best team in terms of record if they speed up the pace from the start. While the Phoenix Suns try to conserve their energy and get their second wind later in the game, the Celtics have to push the tempo immediately from the opening tip.
Of course, none of this matters if either Brown or Tatum miss the game due to their respective injuries. The match immediately goes to the Phoenix Suns at the expense of the Boston Celtics in either scenario. But if both are around, coach Brad Stevens’ squad has a slim chance.
Phoenix Suns vs Boston Celtics - Combined 5
Point Guard - Chris Paul l Shooting Guard - Devin Booker l Small Forward - Jaylen Brown l Power Forward - Jayson Tatum l Center - Deandre Ayton
Our hypothetical Combined 5 is tricky considering the 50-50 status of the Celtics’ swingmen. Nevertheless, the two are among the best in the business, so picking them was a no-brainer.
The point guard role easily goes to the Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul over the Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker. As good as Walker has been this month, Paul has been sensational all season long. For the month of April, the Suns are 9-2 with the 11-time All-Star averaging 15.8 points, 9.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
Our shooting guard is Paul’s running mate with the Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker. Booker is fortunate that the Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart is questionable to play. The Suns guard is right around his usual numbers this month with 24.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He kicked off April with a trio of 30-point performances in consecutive games.
At small forward is the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, who is having his best year as a pro. For the season, he is putting up 24.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals. He also has career-best shooting numbers from the field (49.6%), the 3-point arc (40.4%) and the line (75.4%). The Phoenix Suns will try to counter with 3-and-D wing Mikal Bridges.
The power forward spot belongs to Jayson Tatum. The Boston Celtics forward is one of the best in the league and could become an all-time great if he keeps up this type of production. Since April began, Tatum has been scoring 27.8 points and grabbing 8.8 rebounds a night. He also had his first career triple-double on Monday with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Finally, at center, is third-year man Deandre Ayton. The Phoenix Suns center has grown leaps and bounds this season under Paul’s leadership. He struggled at the beginning of the year but has since found his footing. In his last 10 games, Ayton has put up 17.8 points on a sizzling 69.0 percent from the field while adding 10.2 rebounds per game. His work in the paint has been a big reason the Suns are legitimate title contenders.