BOSTON (AP) — The Phoenix Suns needed help to snap a three-game losing streak that hurt their postseason prospects. They got it when the Boston Celtics had their worst shooting game of the season.
The Suns still had to finish well and they did by scoring the last seven points for an 87-80 win Friday night that moved them one game behind Memphis for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
"Our offense wasn't very good," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "Defense, when you aren't shooting the ball well, can win you the game and I think it did tonight."
The Suns scored just 58 points in the last three quarters. But the Celtics made a season-low 30.9 percent of their shots and missed 65.
Boston coach Brad Stevens was especially upset with his team's play after Jeff Green's two free throws for the Celtics made it 80-80 with 2:02 left, the fourth tie of the fourth quarter.
"We didn't play with any poise," he said. "The last 40 seconds were awful."
Alex Len started the decisive spurt with a three-point play on a tip-in and a free throw with 54.1 seconds left. The Suns (37-28) finished the scoring with a dunk by Markieff Morris and a layup by Goran Dragic, who led them with 20 points.
Before the season people said "we were going to have 15, 16 wins," Dragic said. "We don't care if it's pretty or ugly. We need to have those wins."
Eric Bledsoe had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Morris added 15 points for Phoenix.
Kris Humphries led the Celtics with 11 points, 13 rebounds and one thrown towel while on the bench when they collapsed in the final minute.
"He's upset because we lost and he certainly has got a right to be," Stevens said. "That was not a good ending. It was not a good performance."
Chris Johnson also scored 11 for the Celtics, but threw a bad pass that was stolen by P.J. Tucker and led to the dunk by Morris with 23.1 seconds to play.
The 7-foot-1 Len put the Suns ahead to stay after entering the game in the fourth quarter when Miles Plumlee went out after being poked in the eye. The rookie center was averaging just 2.4 points and 9.1 minutes per game before Friday but finished with six points and three rebounds in nine minutes.