Even with a record of 8-24, the Phoenix Suns are one of the league's hottest teams. Fresh off of a trade that saw the Suns swap savvy veteran Trevor Ariza for the youth and athleticism of Kelly Oubre Jr, Phoenix went on the road and beat one of the top contenders in the Eastern conference, giving the Celtics only their third loss at home this season. The loss also kept the Suns win streak going, stretching the run to four games.
First overall pick of last years draft DeAndre Ayton went off Wednesday night, having his biggest game of his young career. The big man dropped 23 points from 10-14 shooting, while also snagging 8 rebounds over a very small Boston team, who lost the overall rebounding battle to the Suns by a whooping 37-56. Boston big Aron Baynes left after playing just two minutes before getting injured (out indefinitely with a broken hand). Devin Booker led his Suns and all scorers with 24 points. After coming back from missing six games (games in which the Suns lost all but one), Booker has went on to post point totals of 28, 38, and 24. The four game win streak has seen the meshing of two players, Devin Booker, and DeAndre Ayton, who is slowly take baby steps to becoming the consistently great player he can be. Along with these two, new trade acquisition Kelly Oubre Jr continued his transitioning period, giving the Suns a solid 13 points in 26 minutes. T.J. Warren chipped in 21 to continue his exceptional season, as things are starting to turn from gloom to an improved cloudy in Phoenix’s foreseeable future.
After the 3 day layoff that Boston had following a tough road loss in Detroit, the Celtics looked to return to winning ways, and seemed to be the favorites heading in a matchup with a Phoenix Suns team that only won 7 of 31 games this season. Kyrie Irving dropped 29 points in the loss, bringing his December average to 24.7 ppg. After losing the rebounding battle by 19, Boston needed an offensive surge from their role players Wednesday night, but Gordon Hayward, Roszier, and Jaylen Brown all struggled in point production, leaving Boston outgunned on the night by a lessor Phoenix team. Boston will need to dust themselves off quickly, as they host the Bucks on Friday that sees two of the East’s best trade blows.