With two straight losses behind them, and the offensive heavyweight Phoenix up next, the once-unbeatable Celtics focused on defense. Boston managed to hold the Suns to just 85 points, but 39% shooting led to a season-low 77 points, and a season-first third consecutive loss. "Tonight we were bad," coach Doc Rivers told the Boston Herald.
The victorious Suns cruised on Amare Stoudemire's game-high 28 points and 18 from Steve Nash. Phoenix also enjoyed a combined 27 rebounds from Grant Hill and newly acquired Shaquille O'Neal. The Diesel, still getting used to Phoenix's faster pace, collected only four points, but nonetheless proved crucial. “Shaq’s presence, I thought, really changed the game," Rivers admitted.