The significance of Celtics' bounce-back win against Suns


It looked like the Celtics were about to have another rough start on Monday. Jaylen Brown airmailed his first three, then Jayson Tatum did the same soon after. Those two shots were part of Boston’s 0-for-5 start from three, and an all-around 1-for-10 start from the floor.

But the Celtics didn’t repeat their Sunday performance. Instead, they held a 26-22 lead after the first quarter, setting the tone for a 99-85 win over the Suns. (For a complete recap of the Celtics' win, click here.)

On its own, this is a quality win. The Suns are a good team. They’ve knocked off both the Clippers and Sixers, two top-tier teams. While holding Aron Baynes to nine points may not seem like a major accomplishment, he’s the same guy who dropped 20 on the Lakers two games ago. Devin Booker still scored 20 on 7 of 13 shooting, but the Celtics didn’t let the shooting guard burn them like he has in the past — which is even more important after what Buddy Hield did to Boston on Sunday.

And that’s what this win is more about: the Celtics bounced back from a loss against a lesser team in the Kings. Sacramento has its strengths, but they didn’t have De'Aaron Fox, which should’ve made life much easier for Boston.

Either way, the Celtics responded to the disappointing loss the right way — and on a night where their long-range shooting wasn’t on-point.

“On a back-to-back, when we lost a game that we should have won … to be able to come back and play another great team in their home when they’re rocking and rolling and to win, it’s tremendous,” Marcus Smart told reporters. “And that just shows what this team can really do when we’re locked in. We just got to continue to stay that way.”

Video proof Jayson Tatum made a layup

— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) November 19, 2019

The Celtics only shot 29.3% from three against the Suns. Brown was the most efficient starter from three (2-for-5), but Tatum (3-for-9), Smart (3-for-10) and Kemba Walker (1-for-7) weren’t efficient.

This game is proof the Celtics can still win by primarily scoring from inside and playing their brand of defense. Tatum was much better at the rim (5-for-7 from two) and earn nine free-throw attempts, making seven. Walker has similar success (8-for-12 from two) and Smart made both of his two-point attempts and went 4-for-4 from the line.

Kemba Walker to close out the half --

— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 19, 2019

Boston came out slow in the first few minutes, but that was the only sign of carryover from Sunday’s loss. Plus, as much as they continued to shoot 3-pointers, they took what the game gave them, for the most part, and made the most of those chances.

“You know, you’re not going to win every game, but when you have opportunities to bounce back and learn from mistakes and you actually come out and do it, it just feels good,” Walker said. “And it lets you know about your team and the guys you’re playing with. We have a special group. For us to not hang our heads on that loss (Sunday), really just come out tonight and play against a really good team here at (their) home and be able to come out with the win, that was big time.”

Brad Wanamaker played a season-high 30 minutes against the Suns. He scored 10 points for the third time this year. Wanamaker scored at least 10 points in three of the 36 games he played in last season.