PHOENIX — The Celtics who took the floor here Wednesday to face the Suns could very well reconvene intact Friday in Los Angeles, where they will face the rival Lakers.
Of course, that’s only if the Celtics don’t pull off any moves before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. The team has already made two trades during this rebuilding season, so additional swaps won’t be out of the ordinary.
But those questions will be answered soon enough. As it stands, the Celtics will enter the trade deadline on a loss, having dropped a 100-94 decision to the Suns at US Airways Center.
The game marked Boston’s first after the All-Star break and their first of a four-game West Coast trip.
The Celtics (19-36) led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter before a 20-1 Phoenix run that spanned parts of two quarters gave the Suns a 81-71 lead in the fourth.
“That period of time — late third, early fourth — changed the complexion of the game,’’ said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
The Suns (31-21) were able to hold on from there, even as the score was tight down the stretch.
The up-tempo Suns piled up 30 fast-break points, the most the Celtics have given up all season; the most Boston had previously allowed was 28 to Philadelphia Feb. 5. (The Celtics scored just 8 fast-break points Wednesday.)
“I just think we’ve got to work on transition defense a little bit more, honestly,’’ said Boston’s Jared Sullinger. “We kind of knew this was coming — they’re the top team in the NBA with transition [points]. So, we’ll see them again and hopefully we can make some adjustments.”
Six Suns scored in double figures, led by 18 points from forward Markieff Morris. Goran Dragic and Gerald Green each scored 17 and P.J. Tucker added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“You can’t make errors against them because they are coming. They are coming fast and hard,’’ said Stevens. “That team probably pushes it harder than any team we’ve seen all year, even more so than it looked on film.”
The Celtics lost for the third time in their last four games and fell to 4-19 against Western Conference foes this season.
In his 11th game back after missing nearly a year following knee surgery, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists in 36 minutes. Rondo also grabbed six rebounds.
Forward Brandon Bass added 18 points and eight rebounds and Jeff Green scored 17 points.
The Celtics trailed, 6-0, out of the gate and were down by 11 points in the first half, but they rebounded with a 16-4 run to open the second half, giving them a 66-56 lead. Bass scored 8 points during the run.
But the fast-paced Suns turned it on, ending the quarter on a 15-1 run before scoring the first 5 points of the fourth quarter as they jumped back on top.
“It seemed like any time we made a push, they had a little bit of an answer and didn’t get us over that hump,’’ said Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk.
The Celtics were without starting guard Avery Bradley (ankle) and Vitor Faverani (knee), both of whom will be absent during the trip.Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.