|Celtics rumors: Isaiah Thomas tweets an hourglass emoji, someone notes it looks like Paul George’s shoe logo, world ends||02.22.17 at 3:27 pm ET|
Today’s installment of “Emoji’s with I.T.” is an hourglass.
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas set Twitter atwitter earlier this week when he posted an eyeball emoji, which some took to mean a Celtics trade was imminent. Thomas was up to more mischief on Wednesday, posting an hourglass and then leaving us to our own devices.
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) February 22, 2017
Could he simply mean that the clock is ticking to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline? Nah. More than 8,000 retweets later, we have a better theory:
— Johnny Nup (@_jnup) February 22, 2017
As observant tweeter Johnny Nup notes, if you turn a pair of Paul George shoes sideways, the Pacers star’s logo looks remarkably like an hourglass.
Ipso facto, the Celtics must be close to a deal for Indiana’s All-Star.
Right? Right?!? RIGHT?!?!?!?!
About 24 hours remain in silly season.
(By the way, for more on Thomas’s mystery tweet, check out Alex Reimer on the Mashup Blog.)
|Isaiah Thomas rips DeMarcus Cousins trade||02.20.17 at 3:09 pm ET|
Add Isaiah Thomas to the list of critics who are unimpressed with the package the Kings received in return for DeMarcus Cousins.
Moments after the All-Star Game, the Kings traded Cousins to the Pelicans Sunday night. New Orleans sent over Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-rounder to Sacramento. It’s a weak return, considering Cousins is arguably a Top 10 player in the league. The three-time All-Star has recorded 34 double-doubles in 55 contests this season.
Thomas, who was teammates with Cousins in Sacramento, appears dumbfounded by the move.
I don’t even think @NBA2K would let that trade happen even with the trade override option off LOL
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) February 20, 2017
For the record, Thomas is correct. NBA 2K17’s virtual general manager did reject the trade.
The Celtics reportedly didn’t try to acquire Cousins, despite at least two years of rumors linking the two of them. Cousins, 26, is due to be a free agent in 2018. The Pelicans will likely offer Cousins a five-year, $180 million contract in order to keep him in New Orleans.
When asked about Cousins last October, Thomas praised his talented, yet mercurial former teammate.
“If he came to Boston, that would be good, really good,” he told the Sporting News. “The thing is, I’ve got his respect. I’ve always had that.”
With control of the Nets’ next two first-round picks, the Celtics have plenty of assets if they want to give Thomas another running mate before Thursday’s trade deadline.
|Despite brutal call in loss to Chicago, Celtics show just how much they have moved on from Rajon Rondo||02.16.17 at 10:32 pm ET|
Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart keep coming up huge when it matters most.
But unfortunately for the Celtics the officials decided Thursday’s game.
Jimmy Butler hit two free throws with 0.9 seconds left when Marcus Butler was called for grazing the right elbow of the shooter by referee Zach Zarba on the baseline. The two free throws were the difference in Chicago’s 104-103 win at the United Center. TV replays showed Smart didn’t make contact.
A brutal call by Zarba at the worst time. Butler and Thomas each finished with 29 points.
After a timeout trying to inbound, Al Horford missed a 16-foot shot at the buzzer as the Bulls were bailed out.
“We not going to be derailed by that,” a tight-lipped Brad Stevens told reporters after. Stevens was irate at the moment the call was made.
“Yeah, we thought we won the game,” said Kelly Olynyk, who had 17 points and seven rebounds. “A rollercoaster of emotions. It’s tough.”
Thomas and Smart stayed on the court for nearly a minute after the final buzzer and stared down Zarba. Before the call, the Celtics were poised for another clutch win in the fourth.
There was a mindset and thought as recently as three years ago in Brad Stevens’ first year in Boston that the Celtics still needed Rajon Rondo to be apart of their next charge at a title.
But in that 2013-14 season, he missed the first 40 games recovering from an ACL injury the year before. He was named the 15th captain in team history. One year later, the disenfranchised Rondo was traded away to Dallas and the Celtics haven’t looked back. The Celtics made the playoffs that year, Stevens’ second as head coach. After 48 wins last season, the Celtics are making a run at the No. 1 seed this year.
Rondo has played for Sacramento and now Chicago.
It’s somewhat appropriate that Thomas – the man that helped the Celtics move on from the Rondo era – set a new franchise mark with his 41st straight game of at least 20 points Thursday night in the loss to the Bulls at the United Center in the final game before the All-Star break. The Celtics head into the break with a 37-20 mark, three games behind Cleveland for the top spot in the East.
For a full box score and statistical recap of Thursday’s game in Chicago, click here.
Rondo twisted his left ankle badly with three minutes left in the second quarter but in the time he was on the court, he clearly was inspired to prove he could hang with and defend Isaiah Thomas. To an extent, he was successful, holding Thomas to just two points over the first 15 minutes of the game. Rondo, coming off Chicago’s bench, was held scoreless in 20 minutes, missing all five shots from the floor, dishing out eight assists with seven rebounds.
Danny Ainge watched this week as the Raptors made a big push to re-claim their position atop the Eastern Conference with Cleveland when they acquired forward Serge Ibaka from the Magic.
But what the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations has also watch is the emergence of one of his own players into a legit force on the team that has pushed its way past Toronto in the East and sits just two games back of Cleveland in the East.
What Marcus Smart has done in the last two weeks has been eye-opening.
In Boston’s 11-1 run to second place in the East and first in the Atlantic Division, Smart is averaging 12.3 points, 5.4 assists, four rebounds and an eye-popping 2.3 steals a game. Of course, that last number got a huge bump Wednesday night with eight swipes against the Sixers in a 116-108 win at TD Garden.
A 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio is considered good, and that’s exactly what Smart is averaging in the 12-game run, with 2.7 turnovers per game. But throw in his steals and it’s nearly 3-to-1. That’s sensational. Consider that the OPS-plus of basketball.
“I’ve been really trying to elevate my game especially going into the second half trying to keep the momentum alive,” Smart said after Wednesday’s win. “I can honestly say this is the most comfortable I have been in a Celtic uniform. It feels good, not only for myself but to be able to contribute to this team in other ways. It’s definitely something I will continue to try and keep doing.”
If there was a singular play that defines Smart’s play over the last two weeks it was his jumping on Nik Stauskas when Stauskas lost his dribble 20 feet from the basket with three minutes left and the Celtics up, 106-101. He seized the opportunity to grab the ball, which he did for his seventh steal, and fed Jae Crowder for the game-sealing lay-up.
“I saw the ball and went after the ball,” Smart said. “He just happened to be in the way of it.”
“I thought Smart was fantastic. I thought Smart has really strung a bunch of games together here. Made big shots, made timely shots, but then defensively was terrific,” Brad Stevens said. “I think the last couple of weeks have been some of his best basketball. And we needed it. We’re down a couple of bodies and he is playing at a high level on both ends of the floor.
“I think the ankle sprain at the start of the year was kind of an unfortunate kick-off to the year; it set you back a little bit. And then in the last few weeks I just think, like, he’s really found a rhythm and a groove. And it started on the defensive end with guarding at a really high level. I think he’s guarding even better than he did at the start of the year and he’s been good. We need him to, again. We’re down Jaylen (Brown) and down Avery, you’ve got to have those perimeter defenders step up for you.”
With Isaiah Thomas setting all sorts of new franchise scoring marks (now averaging 29.8 points for the season), it would be easy to overlook Smart. But Smart’s efforts in the last week have been the backbone behind Thomas’ sensational season. With Smart locking opponents down defensively, Thomas has been freed up a bit to focus mainly on making sure the Celtics keep scoring at a frenetic pace.
Ainge has a decision to make. Does he want to make a deal in the days leading up to the Feb. 23 deadline to give the Celtics a better chance at making a run at Cleveland? What pieces on his current roster could help him make such a deal? Forgetting, for a moment, the first-round picks the Celtics have in their draft bank, there likely would have to be some legitimate talent swapping places.
|Isaiah Thomas makes franchise history, ties John Havlicek||02.15.17 at 11:44 pm ET|
Isaiah Thomas became the second player in Celtics history to score 20-plus points in 40 consecutive games on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Thomas finished with a game-high 33 points in the Celtics’ 116-108 win over the 76ers. He is now tied with hall-of-fame legend John Havlicek, who completed the feat on Jan. 30, 1972.
If Thomas is able to score 20 or more points in Thursday night’s game against the Bulls, he will become first Celtics player to score 20-plus points in 41 straight games.
Can he make history on Thursday?
“I’m confident I can but like I’ve said, I’m not chasing that,” Thomas said. “Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t. I always say it — it doesn’t seem real for my name to be mentioned with certain greats and hall of famers, you know? It doesn’t seem like it should be like that but you know it means I’m doing something [right] and I’m just glad we’re winning on top of it.”
Thomas also made Celtics history from behind the arc in Wednesday’s win when he drained his 168th 3-pointer of the season. He’s now in second place for most 3-pointers made in a single season, tying Ray Allen who finished the 2010-2011 season with 168 3’s.
Antoine Walker holds the franchise record for most 3-pointers made in a single season, he drained 222 3’s throughout the 2001-2002 season.
|Mike Petraglia, Josue Pavon recap more history from Isaiah Thomas, great play from Marcus Smart in win over Sixers||at 11:03 pm ET|
More Celtics history Wednesday night from Isaiah Thomas in a win over the Sixers at TD Garden. Mike Petraglia and Josue Pavon have the details.
WEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.
On a night when Isaiah Thomas tied John Havlicek for the most consecutive games of at least 20 points in Celtics history, Sixers coach Brett Brown gave the Celtics point guard praise worthy of his history-making night.
“They really can score,” Brown began when asked about the Celtics offense. “They really, really can score. The last two times we’ve played them, with 30 seconds left, it was 100-100, and it was 102-100 the other game. We’re there at the end. The good news is I feel like we’re playing good basketball right now. The bad news is they are playing as good as basketball as I’ve seen them play in a while because I feel they are firing on all cylinders with just firepower.”
CSN Philly’s Jessica Camerato tried to ask an ‘apart from Isaiah Thomas’ question, probing Brown’s thoughts on the rest of the Celtics roster, like the red-hot Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk. But Brown couldn’t help himself.
“Isaiah Thomas, what he is doing to the NBA and the volume and the volume of points he scores and what he does in fourth periods and what he does in back-to-back games,” Brown said. “You look at what he’s doing to the league right now, he’s an All-Star for a reason.”
That reason is 29.8 points per game, second only to the 30.8 of Russell Westbrook. He is averaging 10 points a game in the fourth quarter. The Celtics lead the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring at 29 points per game. The Celtics have been closing out close games and Thomas is the numero uno reason. Throw on top of all of that 40 straight games of at least 20 points, and you have a historic performance for a legacy franchise.
“I know you asked, ‘Apart from Isaiah,’ but you can’t help but talk about him and the firepower they have collectively when you talk about how you try to give yourself a chance to win,” Brown said. “You have to find ways to defend them, and they’re really hard to do that.”
Then Brown took it to the next level.
“I mean he’s so unassuming physically. You look at him and it’s not like you’re looking at LeBron or somebody that’s tall and all cut up,” Brown said of the 5-foot-7 guard. “He’s very sort of unassuming when you look at him on a court. And then all of sudden, you start studying him. His ability to control speeds.
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