NBA Match Preview – Suns Vs Boston Celtics

Dean Riley - 21 Dec 2021

When the Phoenix Suns made last year’s NBA finals, they sent a no-nonsense message to the world of basketball: they meant business. And so, the fact that they’ve been doing so very well this season shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Even so, the Suns are doing much better than fans would have imagined in their wildest dreams. Currently ranked third in terms of defense, and sixth offensively, they’re the best team in all the league right now.

They’re going up against the Boston Celtics on Dec. 31st, which they’ll be hoping will be a repeat of the last time the two sides met.

Shorthanded But Not Defeated

During last season’s NBA finals, the Suns had just six players receiving more than 20 minutes on the hardwood per game. And while that had been nothing uncommon for a crucial time of any series, they’ve continued to play all their best players for longer-than-average periods of time this season. In short: the Suns have been leaning into true depth.

This is worth mentioning during a time of extreme challenges faced by most teams within the NBA because of the league’s health and safety protocols. What leaning into the depth has essentially taught the Suns is to remain competitive on the court even without their primary players.

Allowing the team to remain afloat even with their starters sitting have been Landry Shamet and Cameron Payne. They do much for strengthening the backcourt’s depth, which in turn provides important production.

All of this plays out particularly favourably for a team who does it best when holding back on playing high-intensity shooters Chris Paul and Devin Booker for as long as possible.

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Doing It Without Their Best

As NBA projections go right now, the Suns are pegged at having the second-highest odds of making it into the finals of the Western Conference. And after losing four games in a row last year, they’ll be eager to make it all right as rain again.

The last time the Suns played the Boston Celtics, they practically cruised past their opponents on their way to a 111-90 burner.

In Boston’s defense, that particular game had seen them play their last night of a trip involving five games in eight days. The Suns, on the other hand, were coming onto the court as fresh and sprightly as could be.

Interesting to note about that particular game is how the Suns had managed to dominate the court even without Booker and Deandre Ayton. If they’re able to do it without Booker and Ayton, they’re able to do it without anyone.

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