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W2W4: C's vs. Suns (Game 9 of 82)

The Boston Celtics (3-5, 2-3 home) host the Phoenix Suns (5-5, 1-2 away) on Monday night at TD Garden (CSN, 7:30 p.m.) Here's what to watch for:

On guard: Celtics coach Brad Stevens singled out Phoenix's deep backcourt, which accounts for four of the team's top five scorers in Isaiah Thomas (16.7 ppg), Goran Dragic (15), Gerald Green (14.6), and Eric Bledsoe (13.3). "They’ve got a lot of different scoring guards, from a standpoint of, they’ve got three or four guys that can really get it going on their own off high screens," said Stevens. "And it’s really daunting. Because you look at, you’ve got Thomas off the bench, and start Bledsoe and Dragic. Those three guys could be the starting point guard at a lot of different places, they are all very good players. Then you’ve got Green, who, I heard a stat when I was watching one of the games, I don’t know if it’s true, but he scored 30 points in under 30 minutes four times last year. Which is the first since [Michael] Jordan. You just have a lot of ability to put the ball in the basket, and they get up and down the court."

Transition D key in track meet: Both Boston and Phoenix play at an elevated paces -- the Celtics are 4th overall, Suns are 6th -- so you'll hear an awful lot about transition defense (particularly after the Celtics struggled in that area on Friday against the Cavaliers). "I thought our transition defense was poor [on Friday]," said Stevens. Later he added: "We talked a great deal about transition defense [during Sunday's practice]. Those are choices you have to make to be great." The Celtics rank 22nd in transition defense allowing 1.154 points per play, according to Synergy Sports defensive data.

Phoenix in focus: The Suns rank in the middle of the pack of the league in offensive rating (103.8 points per 100 possessions, 15th overall) and are mediocre defensively (104.5, 20th). The Suns do limit their turnovers (10th in turnover percentage) and take advantage of fastbreak opportunities (2nd in fastbreak points).

What else? The Celtics are up to No. 6 in offensive rating (107.9), but are 27th in defensive rating (109.7). ... Said Rajon Rondo of Phoenix: "One similarity is that they try to score in the first 6 seconds, other than that, we have more of a balanced attack. They are a pretty guard-oriented team. No disrespect to their bigs, but those three guys -- that three-headed snake -- with Bledsoe, Dragic, and Thomas -- and Gerald Green has been playing well, too -- but they are a backcourt team."

(Read full game preview)