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Celtics make very public case for Isaiah Thomas as All-NBA 04.06.16 at 8:50 pm ET
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The Celtics are making a case for Isaiah Thomas on the All-NBA team. (Boston Celtics)

The Celtics are making a case for Isaiah Thomas on the All-NBA team.

It’s an election year, and the Celtics are pushing their guy hard for a spot on the All-NBA team. 

Isaiah Thomas has exploded onto the scene this year for the Celtics, leading his team to stunning wins over the Cavaliers in Cleveland and the Warriors last Friday in Oakland. He earned his first All-Star spot in February, playing for the East in Toronto on Feb. 14. Perhaps most significant, with Thomas leading the way, the Celtics are 45-32 and in position to make a run for the No. 3 seed in the East for the playoffs. 

On Wednesday, the Celtics took the somewhat unusual move to take to social media and encourage those in the media with a vote to name the 24-year-old to the league’s all-NBA squad. 

“I think as you look at the All-NBA, you’re looking for 15 guys that most impact their team’s success. Hard to argue against him,” coach Brad Stevens said before Wednesday’s game. 

In making their case, the team pointed out that Thomas is: 

  • On track to become only the third player in Celtics history with 1,600 or more points and 500 or more assists in a season. He would join a pair of Hall of Famers in Larry Bird and John Havlicek.
  • One of six players in the NBA to average 22 points and six assists per game this season.
  • Only player in the league to average 22 points, six assists and commit fewer than three turnovers per game.
  • Eighth in the league in points per 100 possessions (32.2 PPG).

The team also points out that the Celtics are a plus-9.5 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court versus when he’s on the bench. 

Read More: All-NBA, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas,
Evan Turner cleared for ‘light non-contact’ Thursday, ‘chance’ of playing Friday at 7:48 pm ET
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Evan Turner

Evan Turner

Evan Turner continues to make progress from the injury to his left eye suffered in Sunday’s win over the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens announced before Wednesday’s game with the Pelicans at TD Garden that the guard has been cleared to do some work in practice on Thursday, holding out hope that he might be available against the Bucks on Friday.

“Evan just saw the doctor again today,” Stevens said. “He’s set to do light non-contact shooting [Thursday] with a chance that he’d play on Friday.”

Stevens did not want to put a specific percentage on Turner’s availability for Friday or whether he might need protective goggles when he returns.

“To be determined. I don’t know the answer to that,” Stevens said. “I think it’s one of those situations where they’ll reassess on Friday and figure that out.”

Turner, in one of his trademark stylish camouflage sweaters, was in good spirits with the team on the bench during Wednesday’s game against the Pelicans, cheering and offering support. He was wearing his normal eye glasses, as he was on Monday when he posted a picture on Instagram.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Evan Turner, Isaiah Thomas
Sleep-deprived Avery Bradley returns from daddy duties to help Celtics tune up for playoffs 04.05.16 at 7:35 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Being a leader on a team can be difficult and demanding by itself.

Throw being a new sleep-deprived dad on top of it, and anyone would have their senses overwhelmed.

Bradley welcomed his second child into the world at the tail end of Boston’s five-game road swing through the West, explaining his absence from the team on Sunday night against the Lakers. 

Without Bradley in the building Sunday, the Celtics guards of Evan Turner, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier allowed Kobe Bryant to score 34 points but held the retiring superstar to 11-of-28 from the field.

“I know it was Kobe. I’m just happy the way our team performed,” Bradley said of the 107-100 win. “We try to play great team defense, and he was hitting tough shots. I’m just happy we were able to get the win.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart
Brad Stevens rules out Evan Turner (eye abrasion) for Wednesday, hopeful for Friday at 2:41 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Brad Stevens feels the Celtics and Evan Turner might have caught a big break. 

The eye poke to the guard’s left eye Sunday night in Los Angeles resulted in just an abrasion, and Turner might be able to return Friday night against the Bucks at TD Garden. 

Still, after a long red-eye flight back on Sunday night after the 107-100 win over the Lakers, the Celtics told Turner to stay home from Tuesday’s practice, get rest and let the healing continue. 

“Evan is good. He’s at home,” Stevens said before practice. “He’s not going to be here today, not going to practice today. He’s not going to play [Wednesday]. But he should be day-to-day after that. The ophthalmologist saw him [Monday] and obviously, if he were to play [Wednesday], he would probably be a day ahead of schedule and force him to wear goggles, whatever the case may be. 

“We’re hopeful that he can be feeling pretty good by Friday. So, I think giving him that extra two days is a probably a good thing anyway.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Evan Turner, Jonas Jerebko
Evan Turner diagnosed with ‘abrasion’ of left eye, posts picture on Instagram 04.04.16 at 12:22 pm ET
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Evan Turner

Evan Turner

Evan Turner and the Celtics may have dodged a bullet. At least he’s got a sense of humor about his nasty eye injury Sunday night.

While his left eye was closed shut following Sunday night’s eye poke from Julius Randle with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, he was able to make light of the unfortunate injury somewhat on social media.

He posted a picture of his eye on Instagram, making reference to his stylish jacket he was wearing, writing, “#lookhowfreshmyjacketis.”

In the picture, his face is transposed, making it look like it was his right eye that was closed when in actuality, it was his left eye that was injured. 

“He was seen by Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte and Lakers team physician and diagnosed with a right eye abrasion and will be reexamined [Monday],” the Celtics said in a team statement.

His status for Wednesday against the Pelicans at TD Garden is uncertain at this point, pending further examination of the eye.

The Celtics have been relying on Turner to serve an incredibly important role on the roster, as he started for Jae Crowder in seven of the nine games Crowder missed with his right ankle sprain. Turner also started Sunday night when Avery Bradley had to leave the team for personal reasons.

 

Evy Wap #1738 #yeaaaaBaby #lookhowfreshmyjacketis 😜

A photo posted by evan turner (@slumdog_mi11ionaire) on

Read More: Boston Celtics, Evan Turner,
Isaiah Thomas on Kobe Bryant: ‘He looked like the old Kobe’ at 2:13 am ET
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Kobe Bryant dunks the ball against the Celtics during the first half at Staples Center. (Richard Mackson-USA Today Sports)

Kobe Bryant dunks the ball against the Celtics during the first half at Staples Center. (Richard Mackson-USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas was paying very close attention to Kobe Bryant on Sunday night at Staples Center. 

The Celtics point guard was watching how the 37-year-old handled his business for a 16-win team that was headed nowhere against a young team trying to clinch a playoff spot. 

What he saw was an intense competitor who wanted the ball so desperately down the stretch that he screamed at teammate D’Angelo Russell when Bryant was open for a three. As it turned out, Julius Randle got the ball from Russell and converted a three-point play. 

When he did get the ball, Bryant reminded everyone what he could still do, starting with his first shot of the night over Jae Crowder in the first quarter. Bryant had 11 points in the opening 12 minutes. 

Bryant had 18 points in the first half as the Lakers stayed close, 57-48, at the half. 

Bryant would finish with a game-high 34 points on 11-of-28 shots from the field. The Celtics won the game, 107-100, and a spot in the playoffs. 

“He looked like the old Kobe,” Thomas said. “From the jump, from the first play, he just had a different energy about him. You knew it was probably going to be a long night if he felt good.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Isaiah Thomas, Kobe Bryant
Isaiah Thomas on clinching a playoff spot: ‘We definitely want more’ at 1:47 am ET
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Isaiah Thomas drives to the basket defended by Lakers center Roy Hibbert (17) during the second half at Staples Center. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas drives to the basket defended by Lakers center Roy Hibbert (17) during the second half at Staples Center. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

Brad Stevens was fond of reminding everyone for the last two months that his team was closer to being out of the playoffs than it was to the top of the Eastern Conference. 

Well, he doesn’t have to worry about missing the playoffs anymore. 

And the biggest reason for the Celtics making their second straight playoff appearance this year under Stevens is Isaiah Thomas. The point guard scored 21 of his 26 points in the first half Sunday night in a 107-100 playoff clinching win over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers at Staples Center. 

“It means a lot,” Thomas told reporters afterward. “It means a stepping stone. It was definitely goal of ours to make it to the playoffs but we definitely want more. It’s a positive. We’re happy.”

Last year, the Celtics made the playoffs with a 40-42 record and even finished seventh in the East. But they were swept out in four games by the Cavaliers. Now, the Celtics (45-32) are shooting for much more than just making the playoffs. With Sunday’s win, they are tied with the Hawks for third in the East and could wind up with home court advantage if they perform in the final five games, four of which will be on their home court. 

“That’s what you want. You want to, obviously, give yourself a chance,” Stevens said. “So, the only way you get a chance is to make the playoffs. It’s been a very focused group. I haven’t heard the guys talk about it a ton. Obviously, when asked about it, they may comment on it. But they’ve been pretty focused on just the task at hand. We still want to be playing our best going into it. 

“We’ve got a lot of work to do and hopefully, get some rest here and get ready for Wednesday night.”

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Read More: 2016 NBA playoffs, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Isaiah Thomas
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