The Boston Celtics were dead Thursday night in the desert, but the Phoenix Suns forgot to bury the body.
Phoenix jumped out to an early 22-point lead and held a double-digit edge for nearly the entire game. But Kyrie Irving exploded in the fourth quarter to bring Boston to within striking distance, and Marcus Morris splashed a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds to go to send the game to overtime.
With the lead erased, it was all Boston in overtime, as the Celtics outscored the Suns 16-9 in OT to win 116-109.
Irving led the Celtics with a game-high 39 points, while Marcus Morris (17), Jaylen Brown (17) and Terry Rozier (10) also scored in double figures.
With the win, the Celtics improve to 7-4, while the Suns fall to 2-9.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
F: Jayson Tatum
F: Gordon Hayward
C: Al Horford
Phoenix jumped out to an early lead thanks in large part to Boston’s miscues. After Irving opened the game with a 3-pointer, the Celtics missed their next nine shots, including three layups and two wide-open treys, and turned the ball over three times to fall into an early 11-3 hole.
Boston’s scoreless drought lasted nearly seven minutes, as Aron Baynes’ layup with 4:48 left in the first cut the Suns’ lead to 10. That bucket didn’t spark the C’s dormant offense, though, as Phoenix closed the quarter on a 17-8 run to take a 32-13 into the second quarter.
The Celtics shot 18.2 percent from the field in the stanza while Phoenix hit 59.1 percent of its shots.
T.J. Warren outscored the Celtics in the first quarter, pouring in 14 points, while Irving led Boston with six points.
C’S CAN’T GET IT GOING
After struggling mightily in the first quarter, the Celtics’ offense still couldn’t get jumpstarted in the second quarter. Marcus Smart scored five early points to open the frame, but the Suns’ bench was able to do enough on offense to maintain the 36-20 lead with seven minutes to play.
A mini-run by Irving and Morris cut the lead to 15 with two to play, but the Suns closed strong once again, finishing the stanza on a 5-0 run to end the half up 55-35.
Irving was the only Boston starter to scored in the first half, tallying 13 points. Warren (19), Devin Booker (10) and Deandre Ayton (10) carried the load offensively for Phoenix.
BOSTON FINDS A HEARTBEAT
The Celtics came out of the locker room with some life, cutting the lead to 16 with a quick 8-2 run.
The lead remained at 15 or more until the five-minute mark when Irving drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 11. The Suns quickly answered, though, as Booker poured in six quick points to push Phoenix’s advantage back to 17 at 75-58. The two teams traded buckets for the remainder of the quarter with the Suns taking a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Warren led Phoenix with 23 points, while Irving paced Boston with 21.
CELTICS NEVER SAY DIE
Phoenix withstood Boston’s early run in the fourth quarter, but the Suns were unable to finish Boston off in regulation.
Irving drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to nine and then hit two free throws to make it 94-87 with 2:30 to go. After a missed Trevor Ariza 3-pointer, Brown got the ball in transition and finished at the rim to cut it to five.
On the ensuing Suns possession, Booker finished an and-1 to push the lead to eight.
Boston didn’t die, though, as Irving drilled another 3-pointer to cut the lead to three with 30 seconds to go. Irving then stripped Booker on the ensuing possession and found Brown for a layup to cut it to one with 7.3 seconds.
After two Warren free throws pushed the lead to three, Morris drained a triple with 0.3 seconds remaining to send it to overtime.
DUEL IN THE DESERT
Overtime was all about Booker and Irving.
The two stars traded haymakers to open overtime as the game remained tied at 109 halfway through the extra period. But the rest of OT belonged to Boston, as Brown splashed a triple and Morris put home a layup to take a five-point lead. The Celtics would pull away to win by seven.
PLAY OF THE GAME
This is how you spell clutch: M-O-R-R-I-S.
The Celtics will be back on the court Friday night when they face the Utah Jazz. Tip-off from Vivint Smart Home Arena is set for 9:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY Sports Images