There are four games on Thursday night’s slate – two of which are on NBATV Canada – but our League Pass Game of the Night might be the most compelling.
The Phoenix Suns host a Boston Celtics team that is coming in on a two-game losing streak and a ton of questions surrounding their on-court chemistry.
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The Celtics haven’t fully clicked yet this season and a game against the rebuilding Suns might be just what the doctor ordered. The Celtics will be rolling into Talking Stick Resort Arena on a two-game skid after dropping games against the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets respectively.
With losses, drama tends to follow as Terry Rozier now finds his name being mentioned in trade rumours.
With the Celtics now fully healthy and ready for a championship run, Rozier has seen his numbers drop off naturally with all the talent surrounding him. Rozier turned down an extension from the Celtics that would have paid him $12 million dollars per year, leaving the team in a tough position to try and keep both him and Kyrie Irving.
It’s early in the season but the team is in need of a win – not just to put an end to their two-game losing streak, but to also try and keep pace with the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks who don’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
The good news for Boston is they’ve won six of their last seven matchups against the Suns and the lone loss came on a Tyler Ulis buzzer-beater after a freak accident of a finish.
It’s no secret that the Suns are in rebuilding mode, but they a ton of young talent that makes them an interesting watch on League Pass every night.
Devin Booker is one of the league’s brightest young stars and will be an All-Star once the team turns around its fortunes. He’s coming off a poor shooting night in the team’s last outing, going 6-for-21 from the field in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets. He can rectify that in Thursday’s game against the team he scored his career-high 70 points against.
The game before his offensive explosion against the Celtics, Booker also had a bad shooting night in a loss to the Nets.
Deandre Ayton has at times shown promise that he can develop into one of the best big men in the league, but has also looked like he’s still years away – life as a rookie in the NBA. Defence will be his biggest learning curve and he’ll get a harsh lesson on Thursday having to guard one of the league’s more savvy bigs in Al Horford.
Games like these will be crucial for Ayton’s progression because he’ll be expected to perform at a high level on both ends of the floor in the future if the Suns want to have any success.
Last time they played
Date: March 26, 2018
Score: Celtics 102, Suns 94
Celtics: Jason Tatum – 23 points, six rebounds, two steals
Suns: Josh Jackson – 23 points, six rebounds, two steals