NBA: Irving leads Celtics in OT rally past Suns

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(Reuters) — Kyrie Irving recorded a season-high 39 points and also had seven rebounds and six assists to help the Boston Celtics rally to a 116-109 overtime victory over the host Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

Marcus Morris added 17 points and drained the tying 3-point basket in regulation as Boston recovered from a 22-point third-quarter deficit. Jaylen Brown connected on the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime to cap a 17-point effort and Terry Rozier added 10 points.

Devin Booker scored a season-high 38 points and added nine assists and TJ Warren scored a season-high 29 points for Phoenix, which has dropped nine of its 11 games this season. Deandre Ayton contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds and Trevor Ariza added 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Celtics recovered from a poor-shooting first half to finish at 40.2 percent, including 14-of-37 from 3-point range. The Suns shot 44.1 percent and were 11-of-35 from 3-point range.

Boston trailed by 19 points after the opening quarter and by 25 after the third period but rallied with a 20-6 run at the end of regulation to force overtime.

Brown’s 3-pointer gave Boston a 112-109 lead with 2:05 left in overtime and Morris added a layup 26 seconds later. Jayson Tatum added two free throws with nine seconds left to close it out.

The Celtics trailed by 14 with 3:45 remaining in regulation before Irving (five) and Brown (four) scored all the points during a 9-0 surge to cut the Suns’ lead to 94-89 with 2:05 remaining.

Boston kept on the pressure and moved within 98-95 on Irving’s 3-pointer with 35.9 seconds left and Brown’s basket with 7.3 seconds left moved the Celtics within one. Warren connected on two free throws with 6.1 seconds remaining to give Phoenix a 100-97 edge.

Morris drained a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining to knot the score. It was Boston’s six trey of the quarter.

Warren scored 19 first-half points as Phoenix led 55-35 at the break.

The Celtics shot a meager 21.7 percent from the field in the half - 10-for-46 — and committed 10 turnovers.

Irving was the only Boston starter to score in the first half and he was just 3-of-10 shooting while scoring 13 points. The other four starters — Brown, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Tatum — missed all 15 of their shots.

Irving opened the contest with a 3-pointer before the Suns scored the next 15 points.

Booker’s 17-footer with 0.5 seconds left gave the Suns a 32-13 edge in a stanza in which the Celtics went 4-of-22 from the field.

Phoenix stretched its lead to 48-26 on Booker’s 3-pointer with 4:31 to play in the half.