|Studs and Duds: Cold Celtics left with no shot in loss to Pacers||03.15.16 at 9:34 pm ET|
The Pacers did their best to give the short-handed Celtics a shot. But on this night in Indianapolis, the Celtics couldn’t convert.
Paul George scored 25 and Monta Ellis added 14 as the Pacers held on for a 103-98 win over the Celtics on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Celtics (39-28), who lost their second straight, were playing their first game of the season without Jae Crowder (high ankle sprain) and their 12th straight without Kelly Olynyk (shoulder). The Celtics lost consecutive games for the first time since losing at Dallas and at Toronto on Jan. 18 and 20.
The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas with 21 points while Jared Sullinger had another double-double, with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Coach Brad Stevens went with a three-guard look in his first game this season without the injured Crowder in the starting lineup. Marcus Smart got the call, along with Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger were the only big men in the game.
Thanks to an early steal from Smart, the Celtics showed energy with the small lineup, shooting out to a 20-13 lead. But the Pacers, behind Paul George, scored the final seven points of the quarter to forge a 20-20 tie after 12 minutes.
The Pacers used a 23-13 run to open a 43-33 lead before the Celtics closed it to four at the break on a 6-0 run before the break. The Celtics stayed in the game thanks to 10 Indiana turnovers.
|Isaiah Thomas on first home loss since Jan. 6: ‘I feel like we let our fans down’||03.12.16 at 9:34 am ET|
In a season that has seen not one but two teams make a legitimate run at winning every home game, the Celtics had a nice home court run of their own at 14 games coming into Friday night.
But the Rockets’ size and the Celtics’ cold shooting (8-of-31 from long distance) put an end to that Friday in a 102-98 Houston victory at TD Garden.
The last time the Celtics lost at home was Jan. 6 to Detroit. In that span, the Celtics went on the longest home winning streak since the TD Garden opening in 1995 and the longest since an 18-game run in 1991.
“We didn’t really know what that felt like,” Isaiah Thomas said of the loss. “It was tough, getting that feeling again, especially at home. I feel like we let our fans down. [The] good thing about the NBA, short memory, you got another game in a few days.”
The Celtics hit the road for a game in Indiana Tuesday before hosting the Thunder on Wednesday night. The Celtics play three of their next four on the road, also playing in Toronto next Friday before a game in Philadelphia next Sunday.
During their 14-game run, the Celtics were able to take advantage of the home crowd and feed off the energy, coming from behind at halftime in four of their previous five home games.
But on Friday against the Rockets, the Celtics were never able to find an offensive rhythm in the second half, shooting just 37.4 percent for the game.
“Man, we couldn’t hit shots, point blank, period,” Thomas said. “We came back. We were getting the shots we wanted, and they were just going in and out.”
The Golden State Warriors are 29-0 at home this season and extend their own NBA record for home wins (spanning two seasons) with each successive victory. Their streak currently stands at 46 games. The Spurs are 31-0 on their home court and have a string of 40 straight wins, tying the Orlando Magic for the third-longest in NBA history.
|Mike Petraglia, Sam Packard on how Celtics home court streak ended against the Rockets||03.11.16 at 11:58 pm ET|
James Harden had 32 points and Dwight Howard chipped in with 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Houston Rockets snapped the 14-game home winning streak of the Celtics, 102-98, Friday night at TD Garden. Isaiah Thomas had 30 points to lead the Celtics, while Jared Sullinger added 24 points and 12 rebounds. Celtics forward Jae Crowder suffered a high sprain of his right ankle in the third quarter and will have an MRI on Saturday. The Celtics fell to 39-27 while the Rockets improved to 33-32.
Well Suzyn, in life all good things come to an end.
The Celtics had their 14-game home winning streak snapped after a 102-98 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
James Harden was dominant down the stretch, scoring 23 of his 32 points in the second half. Michael Beasley, playing in only his fourth game this season after starting the season in China, added 18 off the bench.
Jared Sullinger recorded a his 21st double-double, scoring a season-high 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the loss. Isaiah Thomas (30) and Avery Bradley (16) were the only other Celtics in double-figures.
After trailing by as much as eleven, the Celtics made a number of runs in the second half, but were never able to overtake the Rockets. The team especially struggled to make shots, finishing a dismal 37 percent from the field.
The (39-26) Celtics will travel to Indiana to play the Pacers on Tuesday night, before returning home to play Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Oaklohoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at the Garden.
|Isaiah Thomas wants a meeting with Tom Brady: ‘I need to pick his brain’||03.08.16 at 3:13 pm ET|
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.”
I want to sit down and talk to Tom Brady… I need to pick his brain
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) March 8, 2016
|Brad Stevens on Cleveland: ‘They’re the cream of the crop in the East for sure’||03.05.16 at 2:44 am ET|
Brad Stevens is more than aware that his team will have its hands full Saturday night in Cleveland.
After Avery Bradley hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer on Feb. 5, the Celtics walked away with a 104-103 victory. It was one of the signs that this Celtics team might just be legit.
But this is a Cavaliers team that not only wants revenge but is trying to fend off No. 2 seed Toronto in the East, a Raptors team that’s just a 1.5 games back in the conference standings. The Celtics have a 5-game winning streak heading to Cleveland while the Cavaliers enter play with a 43-17 record.
“[Saturday is] a new game; it’s its own separate entity,” Stevens said. “What happens – what happened the last time we were there and what happened in the last five games doesn’t factor in to how we play once the ball is tipped. And so the deal is we have to start better than we did last time when we played them; we were down 15 at the end of the first quarter, and hopefully don’t put ourselves in that position again.
“Obviously you’d like to have the same result but it’s very difficult; they’re the cream of the crop in the East for sure.”
After the Celtics held on Friday for a 105-104 win over the Knicks, giving them a 38-25 record, the biggest question in the locker room was how far could this Celtics team go in the spring?
“I think if we keep working hard, I think we got a chance in every game,” Tyler Zeller said. “Whether we execute at the end of the game will determine how far we can go, but I think as hard as we play and how well we are playing together we can go as far as we can as long as we execute.”
Jae Crowder echoed the “sky is the limit” belief of Evan Turner, a belief Crowder said he’s had since preseason.
“I think sky’s the limit, I said that in preseason,” Crowder said. “We are just taking it game by game right now, we’re not looking too far ahead. We’re just working on trying to get better with the little amount of games we have left before we enter postseason.”
Can the Celtics, still six games back in the loss column with only 19 games left, still think about catching the Raptors?
“Of course I think so,” Crowder said. “It’s just a matter of us locking in and not overlooking any opponent and taking care of our business day by day.”
“Anything can happen, anything especially with this team,” Isaiah Thomas added. “We’re going to try to, we’re going to play every game like its our last and try to get the highest seed possible.”
How far does Thomas think this team can go?
“I don’t know, I don’t know. We just really focused on the right now and focused on continuing to get better and let the cards fall where they may,” Thomas said. “We’re not a great team so that’s going to happen, but we got to limit those spots where played like we did tonight; where we weren’t talking, we weren’t engaged on both ends of the floor and it almost cost us the game. Luckily, we got back into it and snuck in a win, but if we want to be the best team we possibly can we got to limit those.”
|Isaiah Thomas ‘can’t wait’ to go up against good friend Damian Lillard||03.01.16 at 10:02 pm ET|
WALTHAM — For those who missed out on Steph Curry at the Garden on Dec. 11 there’s a chance to see another NBA star that’s being placed in his same class.
Damian Lillard and the red-hot Trail Blazers come calling Wednesday night at TD Garden. They are moving up the standings in the Western Conference and the man who was one of the most notable snubs in recent All-Star history is leading the way, averaging 25.4 points and seven assists a game. Lillard, in his fourth season out of Weber State, made news in January when he was somehow left off the Western Conference All-Star squad.
“He’s definitely an All-Star. He should’ve been one,” Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas said after practice Tuesday. “But stuff happens. He’s probably been disappointed in a few things, and not just in his NBA career. He wasn’t even recruited by a bigger school. Whatever the circumstances might be, he’s a helluva a player. He knows he’s an All-Star. The league knows they messed up in that. He’s been playing well and been showing people, proving people wrong.
“I met him a few summers ago. We text every now and then. When I got the nod on the All-Star [team], he texted me, ‘Congratulations, you deserve it.’ He’s a Pacific Northwest guy since he’s in Portland now. He’s just a good dude. We know mutual people and we always text every now and then.”
Thomas (University of Washington) and Lillard (Weber State) know each other well from their roots in western college basketball and then in their Western Conference battles when Thomas was in Phoenix.
“It’s fun. I can’t wait,” Thomas said. “It’s what you play for, to play against the best guys in the world, go against the best guards. I’m all about competing. I know he will be ready and I will be, too. He’s an unbelievable shooter, and he can shoot off the dribble. A lot of people can’t shoot off the dribble. He makes tough shots look easy. And he’s just a guy that works. I know Dames. He’s a guy that continues to work. He uses everything as motivation, kind of like myself. He’s definitely similar to Steph Curry in his shooting ability and how effortless he can shoot from so far [out from basket].”
The Blazers beat up the Knicks Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, their third straight win to open a six-game Eastern swing. They have won 10 of 12 and are 33-28 on the season.
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