NBA – Garnett-Amare Almost Fight As Phoenix Cracks Boston Celtics, 85-77

A re-energized Phoenix Suns courtesy of Shaquille O'Neal, defeated the Boston Celtics 85-77 at Phoenix. The Phoenix Suns went on a 15-0 first quarter run, and the Boston Celtics looked intimidated early on by the paint presence of Shaquille O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire.

The loss created the first three-game losing streak for the Boston Celtics this season, and their 30 points in the first-half was their lowest scoring output of the season as well. The game was sloppy at times, with lots of turnovers. The energy in Phoenix was playoff-like, with the Suns making charges every time the Boston Celtics came close.

Kevin Garnett and Amare Stoudemire had some very physical play through, with elbows and shoves the norm. The referees had to call a tighter game lest things spiral out of control. Garnett and Stoudemire shouted at each other through, two alpha-dogs sizing one another up in what could be a NBA-Finals preview.

Shaquille O'Neal, sporting the new nickname, "The Big Cactus," chimed in with 14 rebounds. His role will be essential as defensive stopper and big-time rebounder as the season comes to its fruition.

Kevin Garnett stated that the West was no joke, and that the Boston Celtics had better be ready against this level of competition. No doubt the Phoenix Suns have propelled themselves into the first row of the NBA Title chase. Old faces in new places like Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett have made these two teams frontrunners, and the intensity of this game had all the feel of a June NBA Playoff tilt.

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