Suns host Celtics hoping for end to 3-game skid

Jan 28, 2011, 4:26 AM | Updated: 4:45 am

PHOENIX – An apparent advantage may actually be a disadvantage when the Phoenix Suns play host to the Boston Celtics Friday night.

The Celtics had to face Portland Thursday night, but playing Boston on the second night of back-to-back games may not be such a good thing for the Suns.

The Suns are just 3 -7 against teams who have played the night before and have lost the last four times they’ve faced a team on the back end of a back-to-back.

A win over the Celtics would stop a three-game losing streak, but it may mean a whole lot more to the team, according to Nash.

“Boston’s one of the top teams in the league, so it’s a great challenge for us at home,” Nash said. “We’ve got to come out and compete and give ourselves a chance. If this is a game we find a way to win, it can really give us a lot of confidence and propel us forward.”

A win over the Eastern Conference’s best team certainly won’t be easy.

Boston is second in the league in points allowed per game, giving up only 91.8 points per contest.

The Celtics’ “Big 3” is still going strong.

Paul Pierce leads the team in scoring with 19 points per game.

Ray Allen can still stroke it from behind the arc, nailing 3-pointers at a 45% clip. He’s averaging 17 points per game this season.

Kevin Garnett is having a bounce-back year of sorts by averaging 15 points and nearly 9 rebounds per game.

However, the Celtics most important player might not be one of their “Big 3” players, if you believe Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry.

Rajon Rondo leads the NBA in assists per game with 12.9 assists per game. That’s nearly two more assists than Steve Nash (11.0) averages.

Gentry was full of praise for the Celtics starting point guard.

“(He’s) probably the one guy that they can’t afford to lose to be honest with you,” Gentry said. “He’s leading the league in assists. He’s become a really good on-ball defender (and) a really cerebral guy when it comes to playing.”

Grant Hill did not practice Thursday because of an injured knee, but Gentry said he is going to want to play against the Celtics.

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