Published January 08, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns embark on a critical three-game road trip, starting Friday night when they visit TD Bank Garden to face the Boston Celtics.
The Suns have lost three straight and have dropped out of the Western Conference playoff race. They trail the Dallas Mavericks by two games for the eighth seed in the postseason.
Phoenix, which has dropped three in a row as the visitor, will visit Toronto on Sunday, then close the trip in Brooklyn on Monday night.
On Wednesday, the Suns fell at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-101.
Goran Dragic netted 20 points, Channing Frye chipped in 17 and Markieff Morris totaled 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who are 3-7 in their last 10.
P.J. Tucker served a one-game suspension for throwing a punch at Clippers forward Blake Griffin on Monday. Marcus Morris made his first start since March 16, 2013 and scored 14 points for the Suns, who also received 15 points and nine assists from Eric Bledsoe.
"They (Cavs) looked like the team that was trying to get into the playoffs," said Suns coach Jeff Hornacek. "We looked like that the team that just wanted to play a basketball game."
Defense has been the problem for the Suns during this rough patch. Phoenix has allowed 100 or more points in each of the last 10 games.
The Celtics have lost two in a row since a two-game winning streak.
Boston's most recent setback came Wednesday night, when it fell at home to the New York Knicks, 116-92.
With star point guard Rajon Rondo held out in the Celtics' second game in as many days, Jeff Green paced Boston with 27 points and Kris Humphries and Jerryd Bayless each finished with 15.
The Knicks, who shot 52.5 percent for the game, led by 24 at the half, but the C's chipped away at the cushion, trailing by only nine at the start of the fourth quarter.
New York's Pablo Prigioni drained a 3-pointer to start the frame and the Knicks scored 31 points over the last 12 minutes.
"We did a lot of good things in the third quarter, and then I think that three [by Prigioni] to start the fourth took the wind out of our sails a little bit, unfortunately," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens remarked. "We never really could get it going after that again."
The Suns beat Boston by six in Phoenix on Feb. 19, but they've lost four of their last six in Boston.