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Bridges’ career night and 39 points from Booker help Suns hold off Celtics

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, celebrates with Mikal Bridges, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

BOSTON — Devin Booker had 39 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and the Phoenix Suns overcame a franchise-record 11 3-pointers by Boston’s Marcus Smart and beat the Celtics 123-119 on Saturday night.

Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 15 rebounds and Mikal Bridges added a career-best 26 points for the Suns, who have won four of their last five games.

Smart shot 11 for 22 from 3-point range and finished with a career-best 37 points. His performance marked the first time in NBA history that a player made 11 or more 3-pointers in a losing effort, according to Stats.

Jayson Tatum scored 26 points and Gordon Hayward added 22 for Boston, which has lost three straight and six of eight.

Three years ago, Booker scored 70 points in a loss to the Celtics in TD Garden. He finished an assist shy of his first career triple-double.

The Celtics were missing two of their top three leading scorers — Kemba Walker (team-best 22.1 per game), out with left knee soreness, and Jaylen Brown (20.0), sidelined for the second straight game with a sprained right thumb.

Boston cut its deficit to 90-85 early in the fourth, but Dario Saric and Bridges answered with consecutive 3s. The Celtics had it down to 114-111 on Daniel Theis’ breakaway dunk with about a minute left, but Bridges hit a jumper in the lane with 37 seconds to play.

Booker’s two free throws sealed it with 4.8 seconds left.

The Suns led 60-51 at halftime and answered — mainly behind Booker and Ayton — any surge by Boston. The lead never fell below seven in the quarter, with Booker scoring nine points and Ayton getting eight.

The loss of two key players showed for the Celtics in the first quarter when the Suns broke in front 26-10 before Boston’s bench helped spark a 15-0 run.

TIP-INS

Ayton took an inadvertent elbow from Smart to the mouth in the first quarter. After a brief stoppage to get checked, the 7-foot-1 center stayed in the game. … Booker also went to the floor hard after a collision with Smart in the second, but remained in after getting up slowly, and Ricky Rubio took a shot to the face in the fourth.

ACROBATIC

On one of his baskets, Booker was fouled driving to his right, and, while in midair, shifted and flipped a shot in over shoulder across his body.

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