The Boston Celtics have won three straight and will try to continue that momentum Wednesday night when they host the struggling Phoenix Suns.
The Celtics' last two victories came on the road against two teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings, the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks.
The win against the Knicks came on Monday night and didn't come without some controversy. Kevin Garnett agitated New York star Carmelo Anthony so badly that Anthony was waiting for Garnett at the Celtics' team bus after the game.
"Listen, heat of the battle, man, guys throw back and forth," Garnett said. "He's trying to get his team to go; I'm trying to get my team to go. Both teams are colliding. Not to mention that it's the Knicks and the Celtics. Just what it is."
Garnett and Anthony spoke Monday night and aired things out. Now, the focus is back on basketball and the Celtics will have their floor general back on Wednesday.
Rajon Rondo was suspended for the Knicks game for bumping an official against the Hawks.
But the Celtics persevered without Rondo in their 102-96 victory over the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks. Boston shot 53 percent from the field and was led by 23 from Paul Pierce and 19 points and 10 board from Garnett.
The Suns head to Boston in bad shape. They've lost three in a row and nine of their last 10. This is the second of a four-game trip east and Phoenix fell to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, 108-99.
The Bucks shot 53 percent from long distance Tuesday night, while the Suns managed to go 4-for-20 from the 3-point line.
Goran Dragic paced the Suns with 21 points and Jared Dudley added 19. Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola both had double-doubles.
"We just have to do better all around," said Suns coach Alvin Gentry. "We can't play 40 minutes where we play pretty good, giving ourselves an opportunity and then let it deteriorate over a five-minute period. That's kind of how our season has gone. The season is getting away. Obviously, if we're going to have any chance of getting into the playoff race, we're going to have to do much better and we have to do it right away."
The Suns are 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference standings and are eight games behind the Denver Nuggets, who currently occupy the eighth spot.
The Celtics, who open a five-game homestand Wednesday, have lost four of their last five to the Suns. Phoenix has won two of the last three in Boston.