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Studs and Duds: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics wave Kobe Bryant goodbye, clinch playoff spot 04.03.16 at 11:59 pm ET
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Kobe Bryant shoots over Celtics forward Jae Crowder during first half at Staples Center. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

Kobe Bryant shoots over Celtics forward Jae Crowder during the first half Sunday night at Staples Center. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

Beating Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and clinching a playoff spot proved to be a little more than mere formality for the Celtics on Sunday night. 

Isaiah Thomas scored 21 of his 26 points in the first half and Jae Crowder added 22 as the Celtics turned back the 16-win Lakers, 107-100, at Staples Center. In his final game ever against Boston, Bryant went out on a strong note. He scored 18 of his 34 points in the first half to keep the Lakers close. 

As for Thomas, who played in front of his friend and boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, he matched Paul Pierce’s 2005-06 mark of 16 straight games with at least 20 points. 

The Celtics improve to 45-32 and are tied with the Hawks for third in the East. 

Bryant, who finished 11-of-28 from the field, came out clearly with a point to prove in his final game ever against the Celtics. He made his first shot, a 12-foot left wing jumper over Crowder just 64 seconds into the game. He made just two of his six first-quarter shots from the floor but converted all six attempts at the line for 11 points. 

The Celtics, thanks in large part to red-hot shooting to start the game, built an early lead of nine points twice, including 29-20. The Celtics hit seven of their first 10 shots before cooling off to 59 percent by the end of the first quarter. Thomas and Amir Johnson each had eight points in the opening quarter as Boston led 31-26. After a layup by the Lakers just 12 seconds into the second quarter, a disgusted Brad Stevens called a timeout to regroup his troops.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Floyd Mayweather, Isaiah Thomas, Kobe Bryant
Isaiah Thomas wants a meeting with Tom Brady: ‘I need to pick his brain’ 03.08.16 at 3:13 pm ET
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Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) celebrates against the New York Knicks during the second half at TD Garden. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) celebrates against the New York Knicks during the second half at TD Garden. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM — Those who aspire to greatness always want to learn from other great ones.

That’s why Isaiah Thomas took to Twitter on Tuesday in a very public attempt to get a sit-down with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

I want to sit down and talk to Tom Brady… I need to pick his brain,” Thomas posted on Twitter Tuesday before practice. 

A day after Peyton Manning’s retirement, was there something that spurred the request of the other legendary quarterback?

“Not really. Sometimes I’m thinking on my drive to the facility, and just thinking about that,” Thomas said after practice Tuesday. “I mean, I’m in his backyard. It would be nice if somebody could make that happen to formally meet him, and like I said, just picking his brain about the road to winning a championship, like what it takes and how to focus in on being great.”

What was fascinating about Thomas’ discussion was his comparison with another current NBA star who is headed out the door like Manning.

“It would just probably be like sitting down with Kobe,” Thomas said. “I got the chance to talk to Kobe. I’m real good friends with Floyd Mayweather so I get to pick guys’ like that’s brain. I just would like to sit down and actually meet him and also just pick his brain about winning championships, and how he goes about his day, how he prepares. I like his preparation to everything. I like to pick guys’ brains, especially the best in the business, best in their field, and see what he has to say to me. Hopefully I can make it happen.”

Thomas was reminded that he is from the West and a Broncos fan. Wouldn’t that get in the way?

“He shouldn’t be mad at that,” said Thomas, a native of Tacoma, Washington and a product of the University of Washington. “I didn’t grow up here. It’s not like I grew up here and I’m not a Patriots fan. But I’m a fan of his. I like how he carries himself. He carries himself like he’s the best quarterback ever.”

Like Brady, Thomas was somewhat overlooked when he played for the Huskies in the Pac-10, becoming the NBA equivalent to the NFL’s Mr. Irrelevant in 2010 when he was the last pick of the NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.

“No doubt. He was definitely not – coming into the NFL he wasn’t supposed to be a Pro Bowler, wasn’t supposed to be a franchise player, wasn’t supposed to win Super Bowls and be arguably the best quarterback ever,” Thomas said of Brady. “And I want to be on that path. I’m not saying I’m going to be the best player ever but…”

As for taking a leadership role on the Celtics, like taking Marcus Smart aside on Saturday and settling him down, Thomas says he’s enjoying the responsibility.

“I just want to grow. I want to grow,” Thomas said. “Not just being a basketball player but being a leader in all aspects, all facets of the game. And why not learn from the best. Especially, I think it’s better to learn from different guys in different sports in how they lead and how they get respect from their teammates.

“Like I said, I would love to pick his brain, ask him a few questions. I got to do it with Kobe. I got to do it with Floyd Mayweather, always do it with him and things like that. Manning’s retired so I can’t do it with him. So I’d love to do it with Brady.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Floyd Mayweather, Isaiah Thomas, NBA
Isaiah Thomas, Floyd Mayweather can’t get enough of each other 09.15.15 at 5:02 pm ET
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The relationship between Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. exceeded bromance status when the latter purchased the former a Bentley for his 26th birthday in February.

Seven months later, their bromance seems to have blossomed into a full-scale public display of brofection. We’ll let the C’s pint-sized point guard explain, as he did during an interview with SiriusXM’s Going the Distance that was transcribed by’s Chris Forsberg.

“He respects me a lot. A lot of people in his circle, when I’€™m around they are like, ‘€˜Man, you don’€™t understand how much Floyd talks about you when you’€™re not here. He just loves you around.’€™ I think that’€™s the little-guy complex, that we gotta stick together.

“So I think we relate to each other a lot more than any other athlete that he has relationships with or friendship with. Just from that, we kinda bond and we got a close friendship. Just from us being small and doubted our whole lives.”

Considering Mayweather’s history in relationships, perhaps we should be concerned about Thomas, but there’s at least one positive benefit to his friendship with arguably the most brash man on Earth.

“Man, it’€™s done wonders for me,” said Thomas. “Even the first day when I met him five or six years ago when I went to watch him train, it was just like, man, you see why he’€™s the best at what he does. And you see why he hasn’€™t taken a loss in [49] fights. It’€™s just amazing. He’€™s the definition of hard work and dedication, somebody, that, no matter what time of day it is, it can be 4 or 5 in the morning, he’€™s going to go on a six-mile run, or go to the gym and get nine rounds of sparring in with no breaks.

“I just try translate that to the basketball court. If a guy at [39] years old is working that hard, I gotta at least work as hard him on the basketball court — and I’€™m 26 years old. He’€™s a guy that I definitely look up to as an athlete and a guy that really helps me out, not just in basketball, but being the best at your craft. And wanting to be the best and not just saying it.”

While Mayweather is accustomed to declaring himself the best ever in a boxing ring, thankfully Thomas lives in the real world, where he set two goals for the 2015-16 NBA season — winning a playoff series and making the All-Star team — taking careful consideration to mention, “first and foremost it comes with team goals.” Given the finish to last season and their additions this summer, the Celtics should absolutely consider an Atlantic Division title and a second-round playoff appearance within reach. And if Thomas builds on his 19 points and 5.4 assists per game over the final two months of 2014-15, there are certainly All-Star spots to be had in the Eastern Conference’s backcourt.

P.S. I’m with the SiriusXM hosts in wondering how Thomas’ team only defeated Mayweather’s squad by a 3-2 margin in their best-of-five pickup series, even if the rosters were five against five.

And for some reason my favorite part about the Showtime video of their interaction was Thomas saying, “I can’t do a cool move and people like it?” You can do cool moves, Isaiah. People like it.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Floyd Mayweather, Isaiah Thomas, NBA
Nate Robinson on Twitter, his role and ‘Kazaam’ 09.23.10 at 4:32 pm ET
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QUINCY — If you’re one of Nate Robinson‘s 153,448 followers on Twitter, then you know the backup Celtics guard isn’t afraid to share his thoughts.

“Nate’s talking? That’s a news flash,” Doc Rivers quipped at the team’s annual golf fundraiser to support The Shamrock Foundation.

And Twitter is one of Robinson’s favorite places to chirp. He’s posted 79 tweets (@nate_robinson) since Monday, including what appeared to be his own telephone number followed by “text me NOW” last night.

That behavior made you wonder if Robinson was living up to his self-proclaimed nickname, Donkey, but it turns out that was a prank on one of his friends.

“That wasn’t my phone number,” explained Robinson, laughing. “That’s my friend’s number. … I don’t put up my information. I just joke around with my friends. Hopefully, none of my friends put my number up.”

When he first started Twitter, Robinson actually did post his personal phone number, accidentally, while attempting to send Quentin Richardson a private message.

“All of a sudden, I was like, ‘Why are all of these people calling my phone?'” he said. “It was pretty funny ‘€” but never again.”

On Twitter, pretty much no topic is off limits for Robinson. He’s discussed everything from relationship advice to potential tattoos to nutrition tips.

“It takes time out of your day,” he said. “When you’re bored, you can go on Twitter, and by the time you’re done, three or four hours go by. It’s fun. You keep up with the world, I guess. I think it’s one of the best creations of the last two years.”

So, who does Robinson follow on Twitter? Other than his teammates, opponents and a slew of football players, his three favorites are rapper Fabolous (“He’s got a lot of interesting things to say”), boxer Floyd Mayweather (“he’s pretty funny”) and comedian Kevin Hart (“a lot of comedians are pretty funny, because it’s their job”).

Nate Robinson: On basketball

When he’s not tweeting, Robinson finds time to play a little basketball.

After seeing limited playing time for the Celtics following last season’s trade from New York, he had at least one breakout performance in each of the final three series of Boston’s playoff run, including the 12-point performance in Game 4 of the finals that led to the infamous “Shrek and Donkey” press conference.

Building off that momentum, the 5-foot-9 former University of Washington star hopes to contribute to this year’s team, in any way he can.

“I love the game of basketball,” he said. “That’s never going to change. For me to get a training camp in with the Celtics, that’s only going to help me out with knowing exactly what Doc wants from me, how to play and getting in where I fit in, which is me playing with energy. I don’t try to do too much. I’ve just got to play my game.”

Nothing is set in stone for Robinson this season, especially with the re-acquisition of Delonte West. They’ll be battling for playing time behind Rajon Rondo, but Rivers believes that Robinson’s participation in a Celtics training camp can only help.

“It’ll be important,” said Rivers. “It’ll help him understand what we’re running better, and it’ll help us understand him a little better as well. It’ll be good for both of us.”

Nate Robinson: On Shaq

Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal share adjacent lockers this season, and they’re getting to know each other ‘€” perhaps a little too well.

“I’ve been a Shaq fan since I was a little boy, so I’ve been teasing him about all the movies he’s been in,” Robinson said. “He’s awesome. His locker is right next to mine, so it’s kind of cool. Every day, he comes in with these Superman pajamas. I’m kinda getting tired of those already, but he’s a real fun guy. He’s one of those guys who I can always tell my kids, ‘I played with one of the all-time greats.'”

Oddly, Shaq (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) doesn’t follow Robinson on Twitter yet. Maybe it’s all those digs about Shaq’s movie career, like, “Yo, my locker is right next to Kazaam” …

Read More: Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Fabolous, Floyd Mayweather
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