PHOENIX (AP) -- In case Boston fans might have forgotten, Antoine
Walker likes to shoot.
In his second game back with the Celtics, Walker put up 32
shots, and made 12 of them, in a 33-point performance to help
Boston become the first Eastern Conference team to win in Phoenix
this season with an intense 120-113 overtime victory against the
The Suns were without Steve Nash for the third straight game
with a sore hamstring, and Amare Stoudemire fouled out with 8:47 to
play in regulation.
It was a wild night with seven technical fouls in the first
quarter, rampant trash-talking and Mike D'Antoni's first ejection
as Suns' coach.
"[Referee] Bob Delaney said something to me I thought was
great," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "He said 'I would rather
ref more games like this than games where guys show no intensity.'
This to me is the way games should be, where guys are at high
intensity. There were a couple of times both teams went over, but I
would love every single game like this. This is what basketball
Delonte West added 19 points, including the 3-pointer that gave
Boston the lead for good, 111-109, with 1:56 left. Paul Pierce
added 25 points for the Celtics.
Walker was an imposing presence in the middle.
"The first thing Doc told me when I got here was be
aggressive," Walker said. "I missed some chippies in there, but I
felt good. I mean, I'm getting the ball in the post. As I continue
to play with these guys, we're only going to get better."
Despite his early exit, Stoudemire scored 27 for the Suns. Shawn
Marion had 15 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. Joe Johnson
scored 21 points -- including a half-court 3-pointer at the
third-quarter buzzer -- and Leandro Barbosa added 18 for Phoenix.
D'Antoni was ejected with 19.9 seconds to play after he got into
a shouting match with Pierce when the Boston star was at the foul
line. Pierce had mimicked Richardson's two-fist to the forehead
motion that the Suns' shooter makes after a 3-pointer.
"People don't understand what the game of basketball is all
about," Pierce said. "It's a physical war, but people don't
understand the psychology of the game. I was just trying to get my
team fired up, get our emotions into our game, and we responded."
D'Antoni thought his team, at 43-14 and just percentage points
behind San Antonio for best record in the league, was too caught up
in the trash-talking with a team that just climbed over .500.
"We responded, and we shouldn't do it," D'Antoni said. "We're
the best team in the league. We have the best record, and we
responded to a sub-par team. That's our fault, and that's our lack
of focus, a lack of 'Just say what you want.' We just fell into
kind of a trap."
Phoenix had won the first two without Nash, but coming off a
124-123 victory in Dallas on Saturday night, they couldn't hold off
the remodeled Celtics, 2-0 since the trade that brought Walker back
to Boston on Thursday. It was the Suns' first loss in 13 games at
home against Eastern Conference teams.
Even without its two biggest stars, Phoenix rallied to send the
game into overtime.
Marion's rebound basket tied it at 100, then Pierce threw the
ball away and Quentin Richardson scored on a layup to give the Suns
their first lead of the second half, 102-100, with 2:14 to play.
After another Boston turnover, Richardson rebounded his miss for a
basket to put Phoenix ahead 104-100 with 2:10 left.
Walker's left-handed hook tied it at 104 with 1:20 to go, then
Marion made a short jumper, and Pierce's two free throws tied it at
106 with 36.6 seconds remaining.
Johnson threw up an air ball under pressure, Walker missed from
inside and the fourth quarter ended.
After West's 3-pointer, Ricky Davis -- who scored 16 points --
made two free throws, then Walker scored inside to make it 115-110
with a minute to go.
"We just ran out of juice," Marion said.
Seven technicals were called in a 2:31 span in the first
quarter. A double-technical went against Pierce and Richardson with
7:03 to play, then came a whopping quadruple technical after a
pileup under the Celtics' basket involving West and Walker of
Boston, and Stoudemire and Johnson for Phoenix.
In between, Kendrick Perkins got one for comments he made from
the Boston bench.
The Suns don't play again until Thursday night, when they
face Detroit. Nash is expected to return for that game, D'Antoni
said. ... Tony Allen sat out the game for Boston with a mild right
ankle sprain. Because of the two trades the Celtics made on
Thursday, Boston had only nine players in uniform. ... The Celtics
were 2-2 on their western road trip.