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Fast break: Avery Bradley’s double-double (18 pts, 13 rebs); Isaiah Thomas’ 30 points lead Celtics past Mavericks

11.16.16 at 9:50 pm ET
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Nov 16, 2016; Boston, MA, USA;  Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) looks to pass the ball defended by Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Avery Bradley goes up for the block on Dallas guard Wesley Matthews (23) Wednesday at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas saved his very best for last Wednesday.

The Celtics superstar guard scored 22 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Celtics to 90-83 win over a pesky Mavericks team at TD Garden. 

“He’s done it so many times,” coach Brad Stevens said of Thomas. “I was afraid that we were really going to have to gut this one out … we definitely stagnated quite a bit.”

After dropping their most recent decision to a team off to an underwhelming start, the Celtics didn’t have much room to falter against a Mavericks team entering the game 2-7. 

Avery Bradley also came up huge, putting up a double-double, dropping 18 points while setting a career-high in rebounds as he grabbed 13 boards. 

Thomas and Bradley also combined for the play of the game and one of the most thrilling plays of the early season so far. With just over a minute left, Thomas got out on the break and found a trailing Bradley with a fancy between-the-legs bounce pass. Bradley finished the play with a one-hand jam, sending the Garden into pandemonium. 

“I guess I just like that quarter,” Thomas said. ““Sometimes guys get a little tired and then the pressure gets a little tougher for them. I guess I like the pressure.”

Thomas got off to a slow start, but catching fire when it mattered in the fourth quarter. He entered the final frame with eight points, he dropped 22 points in the quarter. Up until then, his quiet production was nearly palpable given the lack of a support system with the exception of Bradley.

“He’s got a knack for it,” Stevens said. “I guess I’m so used to being around him and so used to watching him operate like that, nothing surprises me.”

Early on, it didn’t take the Celtics long to find their stride, jumping to an 11-3 run to start the game. Oftentimes it felt as though the Celtics were running away with the game, but the Mavs stayed within an arms reach most of the night.

“Just was getting some good shots, my teammates were getting me the ball, I was getting to my spots and was able to knock down some shots in the first quarter,” Bradley said.

For the most part, they stayed within 8-12 points, but they made a surge in the fourth quarter to take a lead with 6:43 left, keeping things close for the remainder of the game. They traded chances with the Celtics, but were never able to create enough of a lead to totally fend the C’s off.

The low-scoring final tally, while far from a positive on the offensive end, was at least a modest hope for a team struggling to keep opposing point totals low. Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews dropped 28 and 22 points, respectively for the Mavs, but the Celtics otherwise kept point production low and contained. As a result, there was a noticeable lack of offense when either one was on the bench.

“Harrison Barnes made some tough shots, but for the most part we were defending them well, we wanted him to take some contested twos and that’s what he did, he was just knocking down good shots for them. He’s a good player,” Bradley said.

The timing of the win couldn’t have been better for the Celtics. After a poor effort on Monday, and a tilt against the Warriors on deck Friday, Wednesday served as a fine enough confidence booster as well as tune up for a Warriors team off to a hot start.

The win also marked the end of a long winless streak for the Celtics against the Mavs. The C’s dropped the last six decisions against Dallas, with their previous win coming on Dec. 12, 2012.

For a complete box score, click here.

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Mike Petraglia, Ben Kichen dissect Klay Thompson-to-Celtics rumor, wonder when real Celtics will appear

11.16.16 at 8:05 pm ET
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On this week’s Celtics podcast, Trags and Ben discuss the latest trade rumors for Klay Thompson, the C’s defensive woes, and why Kelly Olynyk needs to wake up.

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

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Celtics pregame notes: Al Horford misses 8th straight game, Jae Crowder out for his 7th straight

11.16.16 at 7:25 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

The Celtics will continue to be without Jae Crowder and Al Horford, at least for Wednesday’s tilt against the Mavericks, as they continue to learn to play without the pair of mainstays in the lineup.

Crowder is out with a left ankle sprain, while Horford continues to make his way through the NBA concussion protocol. And though returns could be on the horizon given the nature of the injuries, coach Brad Stevens noted he has “no clue” as to an exact timetable for either. The day-to-day nature of of the pair makes coaching decisions challenging for Stevens, but as time has gone on, he’s found a way to ease the process.

“I just kind of go through and scout, and if they’re available I’ll figure that out when the time comes. But until then I’m going unavailable in my own mind, I think that’s the best way to do it, the best way to organize you’re thoughts,” Stevens said. “If Al is able to play down the road, later in the week, we’ll throw Al right in there and I’ll adjust quickly. I think the best way is to plan without those guys, especially if they haven’t played in a while.”

Regardless of results, as of late, the Celtics have still been showing improvement with Crowder and Horford’s absence. And as exciting as those returns may be once they happen, it’s not a sure sign that the C’s will automatically experience an upswing in wins.

“I think it will still be an adjustment when we do [get everyone back] just because those guys haven’t played in a while,” Stevens said. “Until then we still have to focus on playing well, I thought we’ve made good strides the last three games. It was disappointing coming up short against New Orleans, but defensively we’ve made good strides, and we’ve had some younger players do some things they haven’t done before, so that’s a positive step moving forward.”

In the meantime, it has allowed younger players such as Marcus Smart to step up. 

“I think [Smart’s] played pretty well. And he’s always been god competiively, he’s making shots, doing a lot of tough things. He’s playing undersized almost every night that he’s on the floor, by four inches a night usually. So he’s really doing a good job.”

One thing Smart has done so far is hit shots. Not known for being a knockdown shooter by any stretch, he’s shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point territory. Smart noted periodically throughout the offseason and into the season that he has put in quite a bit of work in improving his shot. And while that work has helped, Stevens added that his shot selection has also improved as well, allowing him to shoot higher-percentage shots.

He’ll start Wednesday night, as will Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas.

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

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Celtics recall Demetrius Jackson from Maine

11.16.16 at 2:22 pm ET
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Demetrius Jackson

Demetrius Jackson

After a short stint in Maine with the Red Claws, Demetrius Jackson is returning to the Celtics.

The 22-year-old point guard was optioned to Maine on Thursday, playing three games with the C’s D-League affiliate. While there, he averaged 22.3 points in 36.7 minutes per game while shooting a solid 53.5 percent from the field. He also averaged 5.7 boards, 7.0 assists and 2.3 steals.

The initial move was to get the rookie some routine playing time, something he was not getting while in the NBA. He’s played 15 minutes in two games with the Celtics so far this season.

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Celtics Tuesday notes: Al Horford ‘just not where [he wants] to be right now’ while Jae Crowder returns

11.15.16 at 8:04 pm ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

The waiting game continues for Al Horford and the Celtics.

The big man is still dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion and said after practice Tuesday that he’s not sure when he might play again. 

Horford suffered the concussion when he was accidentally struck by a teammate at practice on Oct. 31. There was a glimmer of hope when he traveled with the team on the two-game trip through Indiana and New Orleans. But on Tuesday, following a light workout, he told reporters that he’s just not ready. 

“I’m just not where I want to be right now, but trying to work through it,” Horford said. “This is something very new to me, so it’s just trying to get used to this.”

Horford declined to get into what is holding him back in the NBA concussion protocol.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss a lot of those things yet,” Horford said. “On-the-court-wise, the times that I’ve been on, I felt good with my workouts. It’s just to play, I’m just not there yet.”

While Wednesday against Dallas has been ruled out, there is the hope that he might be back in time for Friday’s matchup against Golden State at TD Garden. For Horford, it’s just a wait-and-see game. 

“I’ve been very motivated to come back. This is just something very different,” Horford said. “Like I’ve said, I haven’t dealt with anything like this before. So we’re really taking it day by day. That’s just all I can do right now.

“I want to be out helping my team, and us growing together. But the last thing I want to do is have a setback, come in when I’m not supposed to, and set myself back for a longer period of time. We’re trying to be as smart as we can about this. I just want to make sure that when I’m ready to go, I’m good to go.”

Horford has missed seven games and the Celtics are just 3-4 in that stretch. 

Meanwhile, Jae Crowder took a step forward Tuesday, taking part in shooting drills after practice Tuesday. He suffered a badly sprained left ankle against the Bulls on Nov. 2 and has missed the last six games. He has also been ruled out against the Mavericks Wednesday. 

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

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Fast Break: Isaiah Thomas nets 37 but Celtics let it slip away vs. Pelicans

11.14.16 at 10:45 pm ET
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Amir Johnson (left) and Marcus Smart battle for a loose ball during Monday's game against the Pelicans. (Matt Bush/USA Today Sports)

Amir Johnson (left) and Marcus Smart battle for a loose ball during Monday’s game against the Pelicans. (Matt Bush/USA Today Sports)

When the Celtics were in a funk last week, Isaiah Thomas said that he needed to do more to help the team regain its identity. On Monday night in New Orleans, Thomas did his part, but the Celtics still let one slip away to the lowly Pelicans, 106-105.

Thomas scored 18 of his game-high 37 points in the fourth quarter, displaying a variety of impressive moves on drives to the basket against much bigger defenders. He made 13-of-29 shots and 8-of-10 free throws while adding seven assists.

Thomas got free for a layup high off the glass with seven seconds remaining — with help from Kelly Olynyk sealing off Pelicans big man Anthony Davis in the paint — tying the game at 105. At the other end, Pelicans guard Tim Frazier — who had a big steal seconds earlier — faked out Olynyk just inside the 3-point line and drew a foul with 2.5 seconds remaining. He made 1-of-2 free throws that gave New Orleans just its second win in 11 outings this season.

Avery Bradley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Marcus Smart contributed 15 points, six rebounds and four steals.

Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 25 points and 16 rebounds. The New Orleans bench outscored Boston’s subs 57-20, led by Langston Galloway’s 21. Terrence Jones added 15 points and 10 boards.

“My biggest concern coming into the game were the other guys,” C’s coach Brad Stevens told reporters in his postgame press conference. “Because I thought that Anthony’s going to be Anthony, and he’s averaging 31 a game. But you can’t let Langston Galloway go off. Terrence Jones has had great games against us for as long as I can remember playing against him. So, obviously you’re very concerned and you need to start with Davis in a game plan. But those other guys really hurt us. They really hurt us tonight.”

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

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Celtics reportedly considering dealing Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder if it means Klay Thompson in return

11.14.16 at 1:49 pm ET
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April 1, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) passes the basketball against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Could Klay Thompson (11) and Isaiah Thomas wind up teammates in Boston? (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics and Warriors might be looking to celebrate their meeting this Friday night at TD Garden in style. 

According to Celtics CSNNE broadcaster Brian Scalabrine, the Celtics might be willing to give up their most experienced defensive shutdown player if it means bringing in one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. 

On SiriusXM NBA Radio, Scalabrine said he had heard Thompson might be available and that the specific rumor he heard involved the Celtics. According to Scalabrine, the Celtics would send out Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and the right for Golden State to swap first-round picks with Boston’s pick from Brooklyn.

In return, Boston would land Thompson, with the Warriors then using the Brooklyn pick to acquire a shot-blocking center. He added on CSNNE Facebook Live that Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel would be a player the Warriors would acquire with the pick. 

That might seem like a lot for Boston to give up but if Ainge feels Thompson makes the Celtics a serious threat to Cleveland, he would at least consider it. 

“Maybe they’re on what I’m on, and [they feel] it’s impossible to win championships without rim protection against LeBron and Kyrie [Irving],” Scalabrine said. “So who’s your most valuable asset or most unneeded asset at this point?”

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