First impressions: Suns 116, Celtics 98
Instant reaction following the Celtics' 116-98 loss to the Suns Wednesday night in Phoenix:
How the game was won: Phoenix's athletic front court of Amare Stoudemire and Channing Frye combined to finish 20-of-29 shooting from the floor with 26 points apiece as the Suns ran away from the Celtics early. Stoudemire made nine of his first 10 shots, while scoring 18 first-quarter points (nearly matching Boston's 20-point output by himself). Frye added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Eddie House came off the bench to connect on 5 of 7 3-pointers, scoring a team-high 19 points as six Celtics finished in double figures.
Turning point: Ray Allen's first-quarter jumper put the Celtics ahead 12-8 about four minutes in, but the Suns embarked on a 16-0 run, with Stoudemire scoring half the points during the stretch to open a 12-point advantage with four minutes to play in the quarter. Boston went more than six minutes without a field goal.
Stat of the game: The Suns shot 50.6 percent (40 of 79) from the floor and the Celtics fell to 3-4 on the season when an opponent shoots 50 percent or better.
Unsung hero: Grant Hill, whom the Celtics tried unsuccessfully to lure to Boston this past offseason, scored only three points, but finished with a plus-20 in the plus/minus category, contributing five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. His lone bucket -- a 3-pointer -- helped fuel the early run that gave the Suns their original double-digit lead.
What it means: The Suns swept the season series as the Celtics lost for the third time in as many games, wrapping up a winless West Coast swing after opening their four-game road trip with a win in Orlando. A dinged-up Celtics squad stumbles back to Boston with a 23-8 mark. After winning 13 of their first 14 away from the Garden, the Celtics are now 13-4 on the road.
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