Suns rally late to defeat Celtics
BOSTON (AP) — Goran Dragic scored 20 points and the Phoenix Suns scored the last seven to beat the cold-shooting Boston Celtics 87-80 Friday night.
After Jeff Green’s two free throws for Boston made it 80-80 with 2:02 left, the fourth tie of the fourth quarter, Alex Len started the decisive spurt with a three-point play on a tip-in and a free throw. The Suns finished the scoring with a dunk by Markieff Morris and a layup by Dragic.
Eric Bledsoe had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Morris added 15 points for Phoenix, which broke a three-game losing streak and moved one game behind Memphis for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
Kris Humphries had 11 points and 13 rebounds and Chris Johnson scored 11 for the Celtics, who lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
Boston made a season-low 30.9 percent of its shots. Its previous low was 32.3 percent in a 109-85 loss to the Houston Rockets on Nov. 19.
Len put the Suns ahead to stay after entering the game in the fourth quarter when Miles Plumlee went out after being poked in the eye. The rookie center was averaging just 2.4 points and 9.1 minutes per game before Friday.
The Celtics trailed 64-60 after the third quarter, but scored the first nine points of the fourth to take a 69-64 lead on Avery Bradley’s layup.
Then the Suns went back in front, 70-69 with six straight points, but the Celtics pulled ahead 78-75 with 3:17 remaining before the Suns tied it on Bledsoe’s three-point play.
The Suns led by 10 in the first quarter and by 11 when they took a 38-27 lead with 8:34 left in the second quarter.
Then a layup by Rajon Rondo began a 17-6 run by the Celtics that tied the game at 44 with 59 seconds remaining in the half. Two free throws by Channing Frye with 26 seconds to go put Phoenix on top 46-44 at intermission.
Both teams went cold from the field in the third quarter. Boston made 4 of 20 shots and Phoenix hit 7 of 21. But the Celtics trailed by only four after Kelly Olynyk got an offensive rebound and sank a short jumper from the left baseline at the buzzer.