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Isaiah Thomas is a big fan of the Lakers’ Magic Johnson hiring 03.03.17 at 3:28 pm ET
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Isaiah Thomas says he thinks Magic Johnson will bring respectability back to the Lakers. (Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas says he thinks Magic Johnson will bring respectability back to the Lakers. (Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports)

The Lakers’ decision to hire Magic Johnson as their director of basketball operations was met with mixed reviews, largely because of his lack of NBA front office experience. But count Isaiah Thomas among those who think Johnson will excel in the role. 

In a scrum with reporters in Los Angeles Friday, Thomas said he thinks Johnson will bring mystique back to the Lakers franchise. The Celtics will take on the Lakers Friday night. 

“Some superstar is going to come here. It’s good,” Thomas said, via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “Magic Johnson is arguably the best Laker ever, so to have him ahead of all that and making decisions, it’s a step in the right direction. Everybody respects him. I mean, the Lakers are not going to be, I guess, what they are now forever. He’ll bring some people here.”

The 19-42 Lakers are currently 15th in the Western Conference, limping their way towards a fourth consecutive losing season. In a radical shakeup last month, team president Jeanie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and stripped her brother, Jim, of all his basketball power. In addition to Johnson, the club brought aboard former agent Rob Pelinka to serve as its GM. 

Johnson returns to the Lakers with a mixed post-career resume. Since officially retiring from the NBA in 1996, he’s taken taken part in a number of successful business ventures. His entertainment company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, has a net worth of $700 million. Johnson is also a part of the Dodgers’ ownership group. 

But his endeavors in basketball have been less fruitful. Johnson coached the Lakers at the end of the 1993-94 season, finishing with a 5-11 record. Apparently, though, Thomas is willing to discard that –– perhaps because of his lifelong affinity for the franchise.

“I was brainwashed to be a Laker fan when I was younger, so I always wanted to be a Laker. But I love being a Celtic,” he said.

Thomas will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season. 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson
Celtics prove why they’re one of the best teams in 4th quarter in win over Cavaliers 03.01.17 at 11:42 pm ET
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Mar 1, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) looks to make a pass while guarded by Boston Celtics shooting forward Jaylen Brown (7) during the fourth quarter at TD Garden.  The Boston Celtics won 103-99.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Stevens reinserted Avery Bradley towards the end of the 4th quarter to help slow down Kyrie Irving (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today)

Early Wednesday afternoon, Brad Stevens issued a plan of attack and that evening his team executed it and turned it into one of their most impressive wins of the season.

Wednesday night’s 103-99 win over the Cavaliers was a testament to how tough the Celtics can be in the fourth quarter.

Even with their best scorer not hitting shots (1-of-4), the Celtics rallied behind defensive stops by Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley instead of relying on Isaiah Thomas to keep them in the game.

Facing a two-point deficit, Smart drew back-to-back offensive fouls against the Cavaliers before Jae Crowder (17 points) drained a 3-pointer under two minutes to go. Then, it was Bradley’s turn as he rattled Kyrie Irving (28 points) and drained a 3-pointer on the other end to keep his team ahead. 

Out of a Cavaliers timeout, Cleveland set up sharp shooter Kyle Korver for an open 3-pointer before Thomas drained his only field goal of the fourth quarter. Irving responded with a reverse layup to tie the game (99-99) before Thomas drew a shooting foul and drained a pair of free-throws to put the C’s ahead, 101-99.

LeBron James (28 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) passed up an opportunity to tie the game by passing the ball to Deron Williams, who missed the potential game-winning 3-pointer. 

For a full box score and summary of Wednesday’s game vs. Cleveland, click here.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas 20 point streak comes to an end: ‘Tonight was just an off night for me’ 02.28.17 at 12:18 am ET
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Feb 27, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the basket past Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince (12) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the basket past Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince (12) during the first half at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

An ugly defeat to the Atlanta Hawks 114-98 wasn’t the only Celtics’ loss on Monday night.

Isaiah Thomas saw his 43 game streak of 20 or more points come to an end against the Hawks in a 19-point performance on a dreadful shooting night for the C’s. Boston shot just 39.1 percent on the night from the field.

Thomas, who had just two points in the fourth quarter, went 4-for-21 from the field. And the only reason he came within a point of extending his streak to 44 games was his 10-for-10 effort from the free throw line. He also went just 1-for-6 from beyond the 3-point arc. He still led the team in scoring.

“Tonight was just an off night for me,” said Thomas. “You have those, and we played Toronto and they showed two or three guys, I can’t run through the whole team.”

It was an all around frustrating night for the Celtics.

“We’re not gonna hit every shot every game,” said Jaylen Brown, who shot 6-for-10 to add 15 points. “But I do expect us to play a little bit better than what we did.”

Avery Bradley made his return to the lineup, playing 15 minutes in the first half. He didn’t see any floor time when the Celtics were outscored 63-51.

“I just feel like we didn’t play hard enough,” Bradley said. “In the second half they played harder than us. They punked us.”

The shooting was the obvious problem on Monday night, but it wasn’t the only focus for the Celtics to improve on.

“If there’s one thing I’d like us to get back to it’s taking care of the ball at the level we were before the break,” said head coach Brad Stevens.

Thomas scored only two points in the fourth quarter, uncharacteristic of his recent late game dramatics. This comes after struggling as well late in the loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

“The whole world knows what time it is in the fourth quarter and they’re game-planning to stop me,” Thomas said.

Thomas also saw his rivalry with Hawks’ guard Dennis Schroder mellow on the court as Al Horford and Dwight Howard mixed things up in the third quarter, and Howard was eventually ejected.

Thomas wasn’t interested in talking about his rival guard after the game.

“You keep bringing him up,” he said. “I’m done talking about that guy. There’s nothing. He’ll probably say something over there, I don’t know.”

Stevens had more concerns than just Thomas in the loss.

“I’m not worried about Isaiah,” said Stevens. “I’m worried about how we’re playing”

Along with shooting issues, the Celtics rebounding woes continued to be prominent as Thomas was the team’s leading rebounder through three quarters while Horford struggled against his former team. Horford finished with six rebounds while Thomas led the team with seven.

With the 20-point run coming to an end on the same night Thomas was honored pre-game with the Eastern Conference player of the month award, the point guard isn’t upset about the streak being snapped.

“I’ll break it again,” Thomas said.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas,
Monday’s loss to the Hawks reveals the true need for Andrew Bogut, and why Isaiah Thomas can’t do everything 02.27.17 at 9:54 pm ET
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The Celtics might be able to skate past the dregs of the Eastern Conference, as they barely did Sunday night in Detroit.

But if Monday proved anything, come springtime, the Celtics are going to have to play bigger and tougher in the paint if they have any aspirations of extending play into May. 

Dennis Schroder outplayed Isaiah Thomas and the Atlanta Hawks blasted the Celtics after Dwight Howard’s ejection in a 114-98 rout of Boston Monday night at TD Garden. Thomas had just two points in the fourth quarter and finished with 19, ending his franchise streak of games with at least 20 points at 43 games. 

The Celtics, who hosted a beardless Julian Edelman next to their bench, were abused in the paint in the first half, getting outscored 28-14 and out-rebounded 32-21. Brad Stevens has said all season that he’s fully aware that his team will not be winning any rebounding battles. 

But there comes a time and a place where getting overpowered eventually wears you down. That was the case Monday. When Isaiah Thomas is your leading rebounder through three quarters, Marcus Smart is your best low post option and the other team has Dwight Howard, that’s an issue. 

If there’s any truth to the report from the Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach that Andrew Bogut, officially bought out Monday by Philadelphia, is interested in coming to Boston, the Celtics should do everything in their power to make sure he doesn’t leave Tuesday’s meeting without signing on the dotted line. 

Monday’s game was much more than just a team playing on the second night of a back-to-back. It was about a bigger, stronger team taking it to them physically. Al Horford is a lot of things. A true big man he is not. Down 17 with six minutes left in the game, Stevens rested Horford, presumably to save him for the defending world champs Wednesday night at TD Garden. 

For a full box score and summary of Monday’s game vs. Atlanta, click here

The Celtics raced out to a 15-7 lead as Avery Bradley returned, showing the same sharp-shooting form he showed before his Achilles injury of early January that forced him to miss 22 of his previous 23 games. Bradley hit the first shot he took, a wide-open 25-footer for three from the left wing. As a matter of fact, the Celtics connected on their first three attempts from beyond the arc as they built the early cushion. 

But Atlanta responded with an 11-0 run midway through the first quarter, turning a seven-point Celtics lead into a four-point hole. 

Dennis Schroder and Isaiah Thomas seemed to put their running – sometimes acrimonious – rivalry to the side. It was Schroder who accused Thomas of disparaging comments during a January game directed at Schroder’s mother. Thomas vehemently denied this charge. The two had a very animated but civil exchange in which both appeared to smile and joust with one another. 

Then, following a Thomas drive to the basket midway through the second quarter, it was Schroder who helped Thomas back to his feet. 

Things were more intense in the second half. After Dwight Howard grabbed a driving Isaiah Thomas from behind on a move to the basket, Howard escaped a flagrant foul after review. Then, less than a minute later, as Howard was fighting for a rebound under the Celtics basket, Al Horford fouled Howard hard. Howard responded with a shove to the chest of Horford and was given a technical foul. 

The Celtics then caught a huge break when Howard picked up up second technical of the game for hanging on the rim and flipping his head back on a dunk with 4:03 left in the third quarter. The dunk made it 74-65 Hawks. 

Horford continues to do most of his offensive work on the perimeter. This paid dividends in the third quarter when he found a back-cutting Jaylen Brown for a crowd-energizing, alley oop dunk. 

Without Howard, things only got worse for the Celtics as they trailed 84-71 after three. Boston fell behind by 17, 90-73, with just over nine minutes left. 

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Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Dennis Schroder, Dwight Howard
Win in Detroit shows Celtics need their young guns now more than ever 02.26.17 at 8:51 pm ET
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Feb 26, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson (7) dribbles the ball during the second quarter as Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) defends at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Johnson (7) dribbles the ball during the second quarter as Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) defends at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Ugly is as ugly does. 

In one of the choppiest and most disconcerting games of the season, the Celtics blew a 15-point third-quarter lead and allowed the ice-cold Pistons to take a late lead. 

Jaylen Brown drilled a baseline three with 37.6 seconds left to give the Celtics the lead for good and Marcus Smart showed his typical toughness by drawing a foul and making two free throws to power the Celtics past the Pistons, 104-98, Sunday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills. 

The win snapped a two-game skid and lifted Boston to 38-21 on the season. 

The Celtics were awful on the offensive glass after misses by the Pistons at the free throw line. They allowed five offensive rebounds by the Pistons on such instances, two of them leading to wide-open 3-pointers. 

The Pistons were awful at the free throw line, led by Andre Drummond, the worst free-throw shooter in NBA history. The Detroit big man missed 10 of his 11 attempts on the night and the Pistons were 16-for-35 as a team from the charity stripe. 

Isaiah Thomas scored 16 of his game-high 33 points in the first half as the Celtics used an 18-3 run to build their lead up to as many as 12, 47-35. 

Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown were a combined 7-for-9 from the field in the first half. Rozier, a key player with Avery Bradley out of action for the last six weeks, made offensive impact backing up Isaiah Thomas at the point. He also saw some playing time with Thomas. (Coach Brad Stevens indicated before Sunday’s game that Bradley could return this week, possibly against the Hawks Monday night after missing the last 18 games with a sore right Achilles). 

Brown has turned into one of the very best two-way transition players the Celtics have. He showed both in the first half as the Celtics held control most of the time. He was a plus-14 in 12 minutes of action. 

Morris connected on a 30-foot three at the buzzer that cut it to a 54-50 Celtics lead. The Celtics took 17 threes and made five. 

For a full box score and statistical recap of Sunday’s game in Detroit, click here.

With former teammates like Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace and coaches Larry Brown and Jim Calhoun looking on, the Pistons then held an extended, emotional halftime ceremony to retire the No. 32 of former UConn and Pistons star Richard “Rip” Hamilton. “This is surreal. This is surreal,” Hamilton said in his opening remarks.

“See what Ray Allen do? I’m going to do the same thing for you that I did for Ray Allen,” Hamilton told Calhoun as he recalled Calhoun’s message to him at UConn in 1996. Hamilton was the most outstanding player for the Huskies as UConn won their first national championship in 1999. 

Hamilton played nine seasons in Detroit and was a key part of the 2004 Pistons team that swept the Lakers in the NBA Finals. 

James Young, a Detroit native, told CSNNE’s Abby Chin before the game that Hamilton was his role model and idol growing up. 

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown
Isaiah Thomas on emoji madness: ‘I didn’t mean to do that to y’all’ 02.23.17 at 1:06 pm ET
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Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas

Speaking to reporters at Celtics practice Thursday, guard Isaiah Thomas laughed off the controversy surrounding his eyeball and hourglass emojis, which had Celtics fans trying to discern meaning with the trade deadline rapidly approaching.

Thomas explained to reporters (including the ProJo’s Scott Souza) that he wasn’t tweeting about the trade deadline, and only realized the uproar after the fact.

“I didn’t mean to do that to y’all,” he noted mischievously.

Thomas pointed up at the basketball offices, where the curtains were drawn, and wondered if Danny Ainge and Co. were hard at work making a trade. He joked that they were busy. But he also turned serious when asked about his current team.

“I will roll with the guys inside this locker room until something changes,” he told reporters.

Asked if the Celtics believed they could catch the Cavs for the top seed in the East, he was equally confident.

“That’s the plan,” he said.

Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters that zero players were held out of practice because the trade deadline. Rookie Jaylen Brown is expected to return when the team opens the second half in Toronto on Friday. Gerald Green missed practice with a heel injury, while Avery Bradley was a limited practice participant as he attempts to return from an Achilles injury.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Celtics rumors, Isaiah Thomas, NBA Trade Deadline
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
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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.

 

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:

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.)

Read More: Celtics rumors, Isaiah Thomas, NBA Trade Deadline, Pacers
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