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Celtics outclassed again, show no toughness in latest brutal collapse to Wizards 05.07.17 at 8:57 pm ET
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May 7, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots as Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and center Marcin Gortat (13) defend during the first quarter in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas shoots as Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and center Marcin Gortat (13) defend during the first quarter in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

Well, give the Celtics this much: They waited a full half before they allowed the Wizards to crush them. 

Playoff caliber teams can get embarrassed every once in a while but what’s happening to the Celtics is inexcusable in any context. 

Three days after allowing a 22-0 spurt that allowed Washington to blow them out of the building, the Celtics outdid themselves, permitting the Wizards to score 26 straight points in an epic playoff meltdown.  

The Celtics lost Game 4 to the Wizards, 121-102, Sunday night at the Verizon Center. The Celtics lost a game because they quit in an embarrassing third quarter display. The Celtics lost a game in which they were outscored 58-20 after building a mirage of hope with a 40-28 second-quarter lead. 

The series is tied at 2-2 and the Celtics are lucky to be that close after allowing a 16-0 spurt to open the series in Game 1 and a 39-17 explosion by the Wizards in the first quarter of Game 2. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night in Boston. Game 6 will be Friday night back in Washington. 

All of this as Gerald Green was heard proclaiming, “We are going to beat their ass in Game 4,” after the Game 3 embarrassment last Thursday. Not quite the way it turned out. 

The Wizards again outclassed and embarrassed the Celtics on the glass and in the paint. The Wizards got into the paint with almost no resistance and despite starting Amir Johnson, there was zero presence on the glass. The Wizards outrebounded the Celtics, 45-31 and outscored Boston, 56-38, in the paint.  

“You guys are good. I didn’t think you’d be this good but let’s keep this up,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told his team after they outscored Boston 42-20 in the third quarter. The Celtics self-destructed with nine turnovers in the third quarter, leading to 21 Wizards points, one more than the Celtics scored the entire period. 

“If you turn the ball over against these guys, you prefer to drop-kick it into the stands so you can at least set up your D,” Brad Stevens said after the game. 

The Wizards broke out to another fast start with an 8-0 run to start the game. But the Celtics took Washington’s punch this time and didn’t wait until the end of the first quarter to respond. 

(Click here for the full box score)

Isaiah Thomas connected on his first three 3-pointers while Al Horford had four assists and a block in the first eight minutes. Jae Crowder provided the toughness on the glass with four rebounds. 

Amir Johnson got his second start of the series and quickly picked up two fouls in the first five minutes. He also surrendered a pair of offensive rebounds to Marcin Gortat and was getting overwhelmed in the paint. 

After Washington got off another big start, the Celtics started coming back quickly. An 8-0 run put the Celtics ahead 20-15. 

Kelly Olynyk, fresh from his controversial appearance in Game 3, made his debut with two minutes left in the opening quarter. He was loudly booed every time he touched the ball, including a missed three with a minute left in the first quarter. 

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Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, NBA
Terry Rozier isn’t worried about Brandon Jennings at 11:50 am ET
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20170507_114249Celtics guard Terry Rozier said he isn’t going to get into another altercation with veteran guard Brandon Jennings in Game 4. He’s learned his lesson.

Rozier and Jennings were both ejected in the fourth quarter of Game 3 on Thursday after the two couldn’t stop jawing at each other and were eventually handed a pair of technical fouls.

It was a tiff that Rozier says got the best of him at the tail-end of a lopsided game.

“I just think that the way the game was going, we were down by a lot the whole game, things weren’t going [well], so I got caught up in that at the end of the game,” Rozier explained. “If it was a close game, I wouldn’t have went down that road with him. But he pulled a vet move and it worked. He got under my skin or whatever you want to call it. But I’m not going to feed into that. I’m worried about Game 4.”

It certainly was a veteran move by Jennings. Rozier says it’s Jennings’ job to get under his skin and added that aside from that, Jennings isn’t a factor.

“He’s an instigator, just not to let him get under my skin and things like that,” Rozier said. “And I’m not worried about him at all. He’s not a factor. I don’t go home, I don’t lay down, I don’t think about him before I go to sleep. I don’t think about him outside the basketball court. He’s not a factor, so I’m not worried about him. I’m just worried about Game 4 and worried about what we can do to win the game.” 

Celtics All-star point guard Isaiah Thomas chimed in on the Rozier-Jennings spat, saying that while Jennings was the instigator between the two, Rozier isn’t the one he should be picking on. 

“A lot of people don’t wanna mess with Terry. He’s really with that,” Thomas said. “That’s what Jennings is doing, I guess he got the best of him last game but Jennings’ been doing that all year. I mean, Jennings’ a good friend of mine as well but he’s been that guy to just [get] real physical when he comes in the game and tries to change the outcome of the game and that’s his job. I guess he did a really good job at it last game.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, brandon jennings, Isaiah Thomas, NBA
Celtics react to Kelly Oubre Jr.’s suspension 05.06.17 at 6:23 pm ET
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20170506_181822After the NBA handed down its one-game suspension to Kelly Oubre Jr. for his Flagrant-2 foul on Kelly Olynyk, most of the Celtics players weren’t surprised by the decision but admitted they had other things on their minds. 

Although Isaiah Thomas agrees with the league’s decision to suspend Oubre Jr. for Game 4, he says Washington’s back up forward is the least of his worries. 

“He should be suspended. If you do that, that should be automatic,” Thomas said. “We’re not really worried about him or what they’re doing. We’re worried about Celtics right now.”

With the chance of grabbing a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series, the Celtics know how pivotal Game 4 will be on Sunday. Coach Brad Stevens replied, “no reaction” when initially asked about the suspension and said it doesn’t matter to him who’s playing for the Wizards, it’s his team that needs to play better on Sunday. 

“We’ve got to play better than we did the other day,” Stevens said. “Regardless of who’s playing.”

Stevens also gave credit to Olynyk for keeping his cool after he was shoved to the ground by Oubre Jr. and said the same about both teams that were involved in the scuffle. 

“I thought he did an unbelievable job keeping his emotions cool in that moment,” Stevens said. “I credit all the guys that were on the court, both teams, after that. I thought that could have started something a lot worse than it started because nobody saw it coming. I thought both teams kept their cool in that moment, for sure.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk
Isaiah Thomas sustained multiple front teeth injuries, not fractured jaw 05.05.17 at 11:06 am ET
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Isaiah Thomas has a fractured jaw. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas sustained multiple front teeth injuries including a complete fractured tooth. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

For Isaiah Thomas, the injury suffered in Game 1 was much more than a knocked out front tooth.

Late Friday afternoon the Celtics released a statement saying during Game 1 Thomas sustained multiple front teeth injuries including a complete fractured tooth and two other subluxed/shifted teeth that required extensive oral surgery to stabilize. 

He did not suffer a fractured or broken jaw, which was reported earlier on Friday.

The Celtics added Thomas is currently wearing a four-piece temporary bridge that cracked after being re-injured in Thursday’s Game 3. The spanning bridge is necessary to protect and stabilize the injuries. Members of the Celtics medical staff anticipated the need to replace the temporary bridges, and are prepared at any time to do so.

Thomas will receive a permanent bridge at a future date.

The Celtics lead the Wizards 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

[Editor’s note]: This is an updated version of a previous story published earlier Friday.

For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Isaiah Thomas,
Wizards get nasty, fight back, Kelly Oubre shoves Kelly Olynyk, Celtics dominated in Game 3 loss 05.04.17 at 10:41 pm ET
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May 4, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) leaps to pass the ball as Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) defends in the first quarter in game three of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall and Kelly Olynyk were the center of attention in Washington’s blowout win in Game 3 Thursday. of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

There was no miracle comeback this time. There was no Wizards collapse.

There was only complete domination by Washington in a must-have game to make this Eastern Conference semifinal series competitive. 

John Wall had 24 points and eight assists while Otto Porter came out of the gates red-hot hitting his first seven shots and finishing with 17 points as the Wizards cruised to a 116-89 win at the Verizon Center in Washington Thursday night in Game 3. After 53 points Tuesday in Game 2 and 33 points in Game 1, Isaiah Thomas was held to 13 points and did not play the fourth quarter. 

The Wizards dominated the paint, outscoring the Celtics, 56-28, Marcin Gortat finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds. 

There was a near-brawl, pushing, shoving, trash-talking and three ejections that will set the tone for the rest of the series and undoubtedly up the ante going forward.  

In an ever-growing intense, physical battle between the two Eastern Conference rivals, Kelly Oubre took serious objection from a pair of screens set by Kelly Olynyk midway through the second quarter. Oubre got up off the court and immediately ran at Olynyk and shoved him to the court. 

That earned Oubre an immediate Flagrant 2 foul and ejection and no doubt, will merit a review from the league to determine his availability for Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. NBA director of discipline Kiki Vandeweghe was in attendance Thursday and will no doubt be busy reviewing the case in the next 24 hours. 

The Celtics have been remarkably consistent in the first quarter in this series. Remarkably bad. This time there was no coming back. The Celtics again were blown off the floor in the first quarter thanks to a 22-0 run that turned a 12-12 game into a 34-12 rout. 

Bojan Bogdanovic connected on all three 3-point attempts and John Wall and Bradley Beal attacked Isaiah Thomas in half-court and scored easy buckets in transition as the Wizards literally ran away from the Celtics for a third straight first quarter. 

The Wizards led 39-17 after the first 12 minutes. In the first three games of this series, the Wizards have outscored the Celtics 38-24, 42-29 and 39-17. 

The Oubre-Olynyk scuffle wasn’t the only confrontation in the first half. Jonas Jerebko attacked the basket on a drive and collided with big man Ian Mahinmi, seeing his first action of the series. Jerebko fell on Mahinmi and the Wizards big man took exception, getting up in Jerebko’s face. 

(For a full boxscore, click here)

Brad Stevens told ESPN after the first quarter that “we have to wake up before we have a chance to come back.” Stevens then told his team in the huddle that they weren’t going to get back in the game by “hitting home runs.” Apparently, Avery Bradley and Al Horford threw caution to the wind, hitting consecutive threes that temporarily cut Washington’s lead to 19, 55-36. But the Wizards attacked the paint on the next two possessions, driving the lead back to 23. The Wizards took a 63-40 lead to the half. 

The Celtics cut the lead to 18 to open the third quarter. But the Celtics missed their next six shots. 

Isaiah Thomas did not start the second half as Dr. Brian McKeon tended to his temporary bridge in his mouth.

The Wizards went up by 30, 85-55, on a John Wall three-point play with 4:07 to go in the third quarter. Wall set a new NBA playoff record in which he’s had 20 points and at least seven assists in 10 straight games.  

Stevens started resting his players late in the third quarter as Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jae Crowder took a seat with the Celtics down 93-66 with a minute left in the third. 

The Celtics were again brutal on the offensive glass all night. They were careless taking care of the ball. Marcus Smart finished with eight turnovers in 21 minutes as Washington took a 95-69 lead into the fourth. 

With eight minutes left in the game, Terry Rozier and Brandon Jennings exchanged shoves, fouls and verbal insults. The initial contact drew the ire of Brad Stevens, telling the officials “that was all Jennings.” On the next play, Rozier was called for shoving Jennings to the ground and a foul was called on Rozier, causing Stevens to lose it on the sidelines in a rare moment of outrage. 

Rozier and Jennings were ejected from the game. 

The Celtics were beaten in nearly every aspect of the game Thursday night. During a timeout midway through the fourth quarter, Stevens kept reminding his team that there was something to play for, even down 19. 

“In games like this, you find out what you can take with you,” Stevens said in the huddle. “We’re taking something from this quarter to apply Sunday, regardless.”

The Celtics still lead the series, 2-1, and can take a 3-1 lead back to Boston if they capture Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at TD Garden. 

Gerald Green, who returned to the starting lineup Thursday after not playing in Game 2, left a calling card for Sunday as he was leaving the court after the drubbing. 

“We’re going to beat their ass in Game 4,” Green proclaimed. 

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk
How long can Isaiah Thomas keep this up? Mike Petraglia, Josue Pavon break down an epic playoff performance 05.03.17 at 12:41 am ET
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How long can Isaiah Thomas keep this up? His 53-point performance Tuesday led the Celtics to a 129-119 overtime win over the Wizards in Game 2. He overcame 2 dental procedures and the heavy heart of what would’ve been his sister’s 23rd birthday. Mike Petraglia, Josue Pavon recap the epic night.

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Josue Pavon
Isaiah Thomas (53 points) can’t be stopped, neither can Celtics as they rescue Game 2 from weary Wizards 05.02.17 at 11:03 pm ET
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May 2, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (4) reacts during the first quarter in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas reacts during the first quarter in Game 2 of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports)

The Celtics and Wizards series is getting down and dirty. It’s also turning into a classic after just two games. 

Isaiah Thomas, with his new smile, set a new personal playoff standard with 53 points, offsetting 40 from John Wall and the Celtics beat the Wizards, 129-119, in overtime in Game 2 Tuesday night at TD Garden. 

The brilliant performance from Thomas was the greatest of his career and ranks among the greatest in the storied playoff history of the Celtics. It also came on what would have been the 23rd birthday of his late sister, Chyna, who died in a one-car accident on April 15. 

“Today is my sister’s birthday. She would have been 23 today,” Thomas said after the game. “So, the least I could is play for her. 

“There’s no way I couldn’t play on her birthday.” 

In addition to the personal tragedy, Thomas spent six hours in surgery Monday fixing his front teeth and four more at the hospital on Tuesday, treating swelling, just hours before Game 2. 

There’s no other way to say it, the Celtics with Thomas look unstoppable and a team of destiny. 

The Celtics, who have won six straight games since their 0-2 hole against the Bulls, take a 2-0 series lead to Washington for Game 3 Thursday. Game 4 is Sunday, also in Washington. 

Bound and determined to not let another opportunity slip through their hands, the Wizards got physical and chippy at times to make their point. 

It was obvious early on that the Wizards had every intention of getting their best player involved much earlier than was the case in Game 1. There was no such wait in Game 2 as the Wizards, down a game, wanted to make sure they gave themselves the chance to come out of Boston with a split, a split they thought they were getting after the first six minutes Sunday afternoon. 

In the series-opener, the Wizards relied on the physical dominance of Marcin Gortat to race out to leads of 16-0 and 22-5. John Wall didn’t get going until the second half, finishing with 20 points and 14 assists in the 123-111 Boston win. In the first six minutes Tuesday, Wall had 11 points and four assists. He finished the quarter with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. 

But with three minutes left in the quarter, Wall went up over Kelly Olynyk and fell over him, landing hard on the court. As he was bracing his fall, his left hand and wrist was caught under his body. He came up grimacing and holding the wrist but remained in the game, taking the next two possessions on drives to the basket.

Isaiah Thomas was nearly Wall’s equal early. The Celtics point guard was 6-of-10 in the first quarter with 15 points. 

“I don’t know what else there is to say,” Brad Stevens said. “I thought Isaiah was really going to have to gut this one out and he goes out and scores 50.” 

(Click here for the full box score).

The Celtics committed seven turnovers in the first eight minutes as the Wizards converted that into eight points. Boston finished the quarter with nine turnovers that led to 10 Washington points. Unlike Sunday, when the Celtics closed the first quarter with momentum that started their rally, it was Washington that ended the first on a 13-8 run to take a 42-39 lead. 

There was another fascinating showdown besides Wall and Thomas. Markieff Morris came back from a sprained left ankle in Game 1 and started Game 2. Intent on showing his physical presence early, and perhaps retaliation for Al Horford’s foul that led to his injury, he threw Horford into the first row of seats under the basket in front of the Wizards bench just three minutes into the game. No foul was called. Moments later, as the teams returned from the timeout, Morris and Horford had words, with each staring the other down. 

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Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Al Horford, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas
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