The Associated Press
PHOENIX Ä The Boston Celtics had the best of both worlds against the Phoenix Suns: Eastern Conference defense and the uptempo game favored by the Suns.
Dee Brown scored a career-high 41 points in Boston's 129-121 victory last night, and that's what carried the Celtics to their first win in three tries at the America West Arena.
But Brown felt that his three blocks Ä one more than any of the Suns Ä proved a point.
''They do have a lot of weapons, and they can outscore anyone,'' Brown said. ''Even when we were up 25 points, they felt they were in the game. But they don't have a shot-blocker, and that could be their downfall.''
Celtics coach Chris Ford said the play of guards Sherman Douglas, David Wesley and Brown was the key.
''Dee, Sherm and Wesley all took the ball to the floor effectively. We gave up our share of steals, but we had a big enough cushion that we had time to right ourselves. When you get 76 points from your guards, that's big,'' Ford said.
Brown, getting his second straight start after eight games on the bench, had 27 in the first half, when Boston opened a 60-35 lead.
The Celtics led 98-88 entering the fourth quarter, but Brown dropped in a three-pointer with 9:18 left for a 107-94 lead, and Douglas had 10 of his 22 points in the final period to help the Celtics become the fifth team to beat Phoenix at home this season.
Wesley scored 13 points and pitched in three steals, helping force the Suns into 20 turnovers.
''They are a championship team, and they know what it takes to come back,'' Douglas said. ''They did it to us in Boston (a 107-102 Suns win Dec. 2) and wanted to see if they could do it tonight, but we executed down the stretch.''
Xavier McDaniel scored 17 points for the Celtics, who snapped a two-game skid to finish a five-game road trip 2-3.
A.C. Green scored 24 points, Dan Majerle 23 and Kevin Johnson 21 each for the Suns, 2-3 in their last five home games. Phoenix is 6-3 in February, with all three losses at home Ä a first in a month since November 1991.
''We didn't have any concentration the first half,'' Green said. ''In the second half, our backs were against the wall, because we knew were about to be blown out.''
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