BOSTON (AP) – Devin Booker wore a hockey toque to deal with the sub-zero temperatures in Boston and pulled out a baseball metaphor to describe his possible return to the basketball court.
“Rounding third,” Booker said after watching from the bench as his Phoenix Suns teammates beat the Celtics 106-94 yesterday.
Mikal Bridges scored 25 points and Dario Saric had 14 with 13 rebounds yesterday to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 106-94 victory over Boston and send the NBA-leading Celtics to their fourth loss in six games.
Chris Paul added 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Phoenix, which had a 20-point, second-quarter lead trimmed to one by the end of the third.
The Suns opened the fourth with eight straight points to turn back Boston’s rally.
Booker, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wore a Detroit Red Wings knit cap as he sat on the bench in the same building where he scored 70 points in 2017.
He hasn’t played since sustaining a groin injury in December; it was just the second time he has joined the team on a road trip since.
“I’m mindful of what I say because I don’t want to get everybody excited about it, or depress everybody, either. It’s just where he is,” Suns coach Monty Williams said before the game.
“We do feel like he’s getting closer and closer to coming back.”
The Suns lost nine of their first 11 games after the three-time All-Star went out, but have won seven of the last nine while they wait for his return, which could come during current the five-game road trip.
“For us to win it without Book is big for everyone’s confidence, because he will be back shortly,” centre Jock Landale said. “We would have liked to win a few more games, but now that we’re winning a lot of games and he’s on the verge of coming back, it’s big for us.”
Jaylen Brown scored 27 points and Jayson Tatum had 20 for the Celtics, who beat the Brooklyn Nets by 43 points on Thursday and beat the Suns by 27 in December.