PHOENIX (AP) Isaiah Thomas scored 28 points against his former team, and the Boston Celtics held off the Phoenix Suns 102-99 despite almost blowing a 21-point lead Saturday night.
Evan Turner added 17 points, 15 of those in the first half, to go with 11 rebounds for Boston, which won its fourth straight. He also blocked the potential tying shot with 3.9 seconds left.
The Suns cut a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to one, 98-97, with 1:16 left on a step-back jumper from Devin Booker, who finished with 21 points despite making only eight of 20 shots. Phoenix had a chance to take the lead twice with under a minute left, but Booker missed from the top of the key with 57 seconds remaining and Knight failed to hit the rim with a 3-point attempt with 24 seconds left.
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Marcus Smart made two free throws after that. After Booker's put-back basket with 15.5 seconds left made it 100-99, Thomas and Smart each made a free throw, and the Suns missed a shot from beyond half-court at the final buzzer.
The Celtics moved within a half-game behind Atlanta for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Brandon Knight scored 19 points for the Suns, with Mirza Teletovic adding 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Suns trailed by 18 in the third quarter, but cut the lead to one at 74-73 with 2:43 to go on Booker's dunk off a pass from P.J. Tucker. Phoenix trailed 81-75 going into the final 12 minutes.
The Celtics maintained the lead in the third quarter thanks in large part to Thomas, who scored 15 of his points. All of Thomas's points in the game came after an air ball on his first shot of the game and being called for a technical foul early in the first quarter.
Boston led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter after a 3 from Avery Bradley made the score 55-34 with 3:11 left before halftime. The Celtics took a 58-41 lead into halftime.
The Suns brought back members of the 1975-76 team that made a run to the NBA Finals that season for a 40th anniversary reunion. Attendees included former players Alvan Adams, Dick Van Arsdale, Paul Westphal, Garfield Heard and Ricky Sobers. Phoenix lost the series to the Celtics 4-2.
CELTICS: Bradley flew to Phoenix on Saturday and arrived in time to start the game. He'd been dealing with an illness, and finished with 15 points. … The Celtics recalled F Coty Clarke and G/F James Young from the Maine Red Claws of the D-League on Saturday. … Boston hasn't started a lengthy West Coast road trip this late in the season since 1988-89, when the Celtics had regular-season games out west April 4-7, 1989.
SUNS: F Jon Leuer didn't play due to illness. … C Tyson Chandler was held out with back spasms. … Knight returned to action after missing Friday night's game in Sacramento with an upset stomach. … Suns F John Jenkins took only three shots in his second consecutive start, and made all three 3-pointers. He has hit nine straight 3s in games since March 18.