Suns’ Jalen Smith provides meaningful minutes in victory over Celtics

Dec 10, 2021, 10:30 PM | Updated: 11:25 pm

Romeo Langford #9 of the Boston Celtics has his shot blocked by Jalen Smith #10 of the Phoenix Suns...

Romeo Langford #9 of the Boston Celtics has his shot blocked by Jalen Smith #10 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 10, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Second-year Phoenix Suns center Jalen Smith had yet to play 10 minutes in any game this season entering Friday night’s matchup against the Boston Celtics.

But, starting center Deandre Ayton was ruled out before the game due to a non-COVID-19 illness, and reserve big Frank Kaminsky was already down with a knee injury.

Smith’s name was called to step in.

He scored seven points in 22 minutes off the bench for Phoenix in a 111-90 win over the Celtics.

Smith, 21, also set a season-high in rebounds with nine and added two blocks.

The young big’s performance was not always even, but he had a sizable role in Phoenix’s run during the second period.

The Suns won the quarter 32-15, and Smith was a plus-16 in eight minutes.

That is when he scored five of his points, hitting a 3 and finishing a pick-and-roll with point guard Chris Paul with a jam.

Paul was a major factor in Smith’s second-quarter success, even setting up the youngster’s 3 with a behind-the-back pass.

The veteran point guard finished with 12 assists, his fourth game out of five in double figures.

The Suns got a lot out of their centers despite being shorthanded.

JaVale McGee started and scored 21 points with 15 rebounds. He also contributed two blocks and some thunderous dunks.

Seven Suns scored at least 10 points on Friday.

They improved to 21-4 this season after the win.

Phoenix will take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

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