Playing without three of their top seven players, including two-thirds of the Big Three in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics looked like a team resigned to defeat at times during Phoenix's 116-98 triumph Wednesday night at the US Airways Center.
"They were more aggressive than us today," said Eddie House, who provided the only spark for Boston, hitting five of the seven 3-pointers he attempted off the bench for a team-high 19 points.
"We came out and we were kind of lollygagging after that point, you know, going through the motions. They came out playing hard and they got us. So tip your cap to them. We'll try to regroup next game. We'll get it together, it's a long season."
The Celtics went more than six minutes without a field goal in the first quarter as Phoenix turned a four-point deficit into a 12-point advantage. It looked like the Suns might run the Celtics straight out of the building before the end of the quarter, though Boston recovered to hang around until the Suns pulled away in the second half.
"It's a big challenge," said Celtics guard Ray Allen, who registered 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting. "I thought we came into the locker room and everybody was ready to do what they were capable of doing, but we just didn't have it. Offensively, we tried to find a good little rhythm out there and we were in the game and we were fighting like we knew we could. And, defensively, we just couldn’t get stops. Channing [Frye] got hot early on, [Amare] Stoudemire got hot, but Channing kept going throughout the game and tonight we didn't have answers.”