|Studs and Duds: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics defense shine in win over Pistons||02.03.16 at 10:25 pm ET|
Like Will Ferrell in “Old School,” the Celtics are officially streaking. The C’s won for the seventh time in eight games on Wednesday night, leading from wire-to-wire in a 102-95 victory over the Pistons.
Isaiah Thomas (17 points) led five Celtics in double figures as the Celtics opened a 24-point lead before holding on down the stretch. Guard Marcus Smart sealed it with a corner 3-pointer in the final 90 seconds with the lead down to seven.
The Celtics won with interior defense and efficient offense. They did a stellar job of defending the pick and roll between Pistons All-Star Andre Drummond and Boston College alumnus Reggie Jackson. And they picked the Pistons apart inside, scoring on drives and backdoor cuts, finishing with 54 points in the paint and 18 points on fast breaks.
With the win, the Celtics have won six straight at home and remain tied with the Hawks for third place in the Eastern Conference.
|Studs and Duds: Tyler Zeller, Evan Turner led Celtics past Knicks||02.02.16 at 10:16 pm ET|
Shooting is overrated.
On a night when the Celtics couldn’t make a 3-pointer to save their lives — missing their first 13 — it didn’t matter in a 97-89 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
With the win, the Celtics (28-22) pulled a half-game ahead of the Heat and are tied with the Hawks for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
In a sloppy and physical first half, the Celtics kept the game close, despite only shooting 38 percent from the field and missing all 13 of their 3-point attempts.
With their outside shots not falling, the Celtics pulled ahead in the third quarter by moving the ball and attacking the basket. After only managing six assists in the first half, the Celtics assisted on nine of their 11 third quarter field goals.
In the fourth, the Celtics bench, led by Turner, Zeller, and Kelly Olynyk, dominated the Knicks, abusing their terrible pick-and-roll defense. The trio combined for 25 of the team’s 27 points in the final frame.
They needed it, too, because they were abysmal from long range, making only 3 of 19 3-pointers (15.8 percent). They helped their cause by limiting the Knicks to 30 percent shooting from distance (6-for-20).
The C’s return home to play the Pistons to complete the back-to-back on Wednesday night.
|Studs and Duds: Celtics fall to Magic, snap 5-game win streak||01.31.16 at 8:55 pm ET|
The Celtics saw their five-game winning streak snapped in a 119-114 loss to the Magic on Sunday in Orlando.
The hosts prevailed on the strength of a 72-point second half, overcoming a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to lead by as many as 11 in the fourth.
The Celtics cut the deficit to 3 with 14 seconds left to play on a four-point play by Marcus Smart, but the comeback fell short.
Evan Fournier (24) and rookie Mario Herzonja (17) led the Magic, combining for 41 points off the bench. Four other Magic scored in double figures.
For a complete box score, click here.
|Isaiah Thomas headed to All-Star game in Toronto||01.28.16 at 9:17 pm ET|
Isaiah Thomas is no longer a forgotten star in the NBA.
The 26-year-old Celtics scoring guard entering his prime was selected to his first career All-Star squad Thursday night.
The NBA announced during Thursday’s special on TNT that Thomas will be heading to Toronto Feb. 12-14, joining Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Paul Millsap, Andre Drummond, Chris Bosh and John Wall as the seven reserves selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
All-Star reserves were chosen by the league’s 30 head coaches.
Thomas entered the Celtics‘ starting lineup on a regular basis on Nov. 4 and scored at least 16 points in 40 of his 44 games in that time. Thomas is averaging a career-high 21.6 points per game this season, which leads all Eastern Conference point guards and ranks seventh among all guards in the NBA.
On Oct. 28, in the season opener against the Sixers, Thomas scored a game-high 27 points off the bench to pace the Celtics to a victory. On Dec. 16, 2015, he tied his career-high of 38 points in a loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Thomas has averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists in Boston’s current four-game winning streak, a run that has improved them to 26-21 on the season, putting them just a game behind third-place Atlanta in the East.
|Studs and Duds: Kobe Bryant delivers one last dagger to sink Celtics||12.30.15 at 10:26 pm ET|
After exacting NBA Finals revenge against the Celtics in 2010, Kobe Bryant has softened on Boston, and for the first time since the infamous 2007 “MVP” chants, the city returned the sentiment, offering a standing ovation during the starting lineup role call before playfully booing him on his first few possessions.
It was exactly the sort of reaction Boston reserves for its most worthy adversaries – Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and, yes, Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and one of the greatest players ever to play the game of basketball.
The Boston brass presented Bryant with a piece of the parquet before his final game in the Garden, and then the Celtics gave him more ground on the floor, as the 17-time All-Star sunk a 28-foot dagger of a 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining in a 112-104 victory.
Bryant finished with a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) in 33 minutes, as the Lakers won for just the sixth time all season. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 24 points and seven assists. Evan Turner (20 points, 8 assists), Jae Crowder (17 points) and Avery Bradley (13 points) also reached double figures for the Celtics, who fell to 18-14 and had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Marcus Smart was benched for the first quarter after missing the team’s walk-through due to a flat tire, Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. Smart scored four points in 11 minutes.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
|4 keys for Celtics to beat Warriors||12.11.15 at 3:06 pm ET|
Don’t let the Celtics fool you, this isn’t just another game.
The Celtics (13-9) have a chance to beat the undefeated Warriors (23-0) Friday night at TD Garden, and of course it’s not going to be easy. Reigning MVP Steph Curry is making a case for this year’s honor and leading the league’s best offense. Avery Bradley is going to do his best to pester Curry — make him uncomfortable, keep a hand in his face — but if the Celtics do knock off the Warriors it’s not going to depend on that.
The Warriors are a great team with a lot of weapons. If the Celtics are to pull off the upset, here are four things that would go a long way toward helping that happen.
1. Isaiah Thomas comes through with his season-best effort
No other Celtic has been more consistent than Isaiah Thomas. He’s averaging a team-high 21 points and leads the team in assists (6.3). The Celtics need a big night from their best scorer. If Thomas scores 30 or more points against the Warriors, it’s going to free up guys like Bradley and Jae Crowder. He’s only scored 30 points once this season (against the 76ers) but if there’s one Celtic you have to bet is going to score 30, it’s Thomas. Lately he’s been the second-half hero for the C’s. That has to end Friday night. Thomas needs to get it going early.
2. The C’s control the boards
Jared Sullinger has been a force on the glass lately, grabbing 36 rebounds in his last two games. But he is going to have his hands full guarding Draymond Green. Sullinger needs to out-rebound Green and keep him outside of the paint. The Celtics also are going to need all the second-chance points they can get. The C’s managed 17 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds against the Bulls, and they should be able to do the same against Green, Andrew Bogut and the Warriors.
|Stud and Duds: Manu Ginobili, Spurs spoil late Celtics comeback||12.06.15 at 12:03 am ET|
Behind superior defense and efficient offense, the Spurs reminded the Celtics why they’re one of the best teams in the league, fending off the C’s late-game comeback and remaining unbeaten at home with a 108-105 win.
The Spurs (17-4) were dominant, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and commanding the post — where they outscored the Celtics (11-9) in the paint, 44-30, and converted 10 second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds.
But the Celtics didn’t go down without a fight. They challenged the Spurs’ transition defense, outscoring San Antonio 28-3 on fast-break points. After the Spurs opened a 15-point lead at the end of the third quarter, the C’s pulled within two with a 14-1 run midway through the fourth quarter.
Avery Bradley (18 points) missed a go ahead three-point attempt with eight seconds left — the Celtics’ last chance to pull off the upset, since their last-second, full-court pass resulted in a turnover. Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 23 points, and Evan Turner added 16.
LaMarcus Aldridge’s 17 points led six Spurs in double figures.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
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