Booker shines but Celtics roll on

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Prime Sports -

(REUTERS) LOS AN­GE­LES — Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker scored 38 points but it was not enough to pre­vent the Bos­ton Celtics rolling on to their 20th vic­tory of the sea­son on Satur­day.

Booker pro­duced a scor­ing mas­ter­class and con­trib­uted four re­bounds and five as­sists only to see his ef­forts end in a 116-111 de­feat at the TD Gar­den.

Booker’s scor­ing dis­play came af­ter he scored 70 points at the same venue dur­ing a de­feat last sea­son.

Af­ter­wards the 21-year-old said he had been in­spired by the venue.

“Ev­ery time you step in a build­ing of this (his­tory), you get that feel­ing,” he said. “It kind of re­minds you of that Madi­son Square Gar­den, Sta­ples Cen­ter feel where it’s just, you can feel the rich his­tory com­ing through here.

“Me grow­ing up a big fan of the game just watch­ing all the bat­tles that have been in Bos­ton my whole life and be­fore my life. You know there’s some rich tra­di­tion here.”

Bos­ton, who im­proved to 20-4 to con­sol­i­date their po­si­tion at the top of the East­ern Con­fer­ence stand­ings, out­lasted the Suns thanks to an all-round of­fen­sive ef­fort.

Kyrie Irv­ing once again led the way for Bos­ton, scor­ing 19 points on a day when six Celtics play­ers made dou­ble fig­ures.

Irv­ing, who scored five of his points in the last two min­utes, said Bos­ton had adopted a sim­ple game­plan: “Stop Devin Booker, hon­estly.”

Jaylen Brown added 17 points while Jayson Ta­tum had 15 points and Al Hor­ford 14 points. Hor­ford also snared five re­bounds and had 11 as­sists.

Mar­cus Mor­ris and Mar­cus Smart both made valu­able con­tri­bu­tions from the bench, with 17 and 13 points re­spec­tively.

Brown was sim­i­larly awed by Booker’s scor­ing dis­play.

“(Booker) doesn’t have a con­scious — he can shoot with no re­morse,” Brown said. “He can let it fly when­ever he wants and he’s re­ally good. He has the green light and that’s what makes it tough.”

Bos­ton were set on the way to vic­tory af­ter mak­ing a fast start, open­ing up a 31-22 lead in the first quar­ter which ul­ti­mately al­lowed the Celtics to keep the Suns at arm’s length through­out.

Phoenix re­duced the deficit to six points at half-time af­ter outscor­ing Bos­ton in the sec­ond quar­ter, but the Celtics ral­lied in the third to open up a 89-79 lead head­ing into the fi­nal pe­riod.

Phoenix closed to within two points af­ter Tyson Chan­dler’s al­ley-oop dunk made it 105-103.

But a three-pointer from Irv­ing on the next at­tack put Bos­ton 108-103 ahead with just un­der two min­utes left.

Irv­ing also pro­duced an­other mo­ment of magic with a driv­ing layup to give Bos­ton a 112-106 lead be­fore the Celtics closed out the win.

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