Isaiah Thomas’ Fit In Boston

When the Phoenix Suns decided to trade away point guard Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline, the Boston Celtics were pretty quick to start throwing out proposals. They were able to land one of the most dynamic small players in the game, and management is hoping that he will be able to help the rebuilding process. Boston might not be a legitimate contender right now, but is Thomas in the long-term plans?

Anyone who has watched Boston play this year understands that they really lack a guy capable of creating his own shot. Even though Thomas is at a disadvantage with his height being under 6’0”, he is very crafty in creating for himself and others.

Thomas isn’t a very good defender, and that has been a severe negative for him early on in his career. However, landing in Boston might be the best situation for him to hide that shortcoming. With Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley on the roster, Boston has 2 guys who are well known for their defense. Boston can go ahead and hide Thomas on someone else who is more of a spot up shooter.

In Phoenix, the fit just did not seem right for Thomas as he had to share time with 2 players who were better than him in Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.

Thomas definitely has a few flaws, but he is already showing that he is a fan favorite in Boston. As long as he is able to stay healthy and productive, he has a long-term future with this team. Ideally, he probably is best as an explosive scorer off the bench, but he can also be used as a starter if that is the way Brad Stevens wants to go early on.


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Thomas helps Celtics beat the Suns in thriller.

The Celtics would look to bounce back after a tough loss in overtime to the rival Lakers as Isaiah Thomas would like to make amends for his ejection tonight against his old team the Phoenix Suns.

The Celtics jumped out to an early 11-4 lead off of a Marcus Smart 3. Phoenix scored 4 straight but Boston answered to force a Suns timeout. Out of the timeout Len & Morris scored 5 to cut the Boston lead to 2 before Avery exploded scoring 8 straight (giving him 14 in the quarter) to put Boston on top 23-13. Suns trimmed the lead to 5 at the end of the first.

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New addition Isaiah Thomas added 2 assists & an AND 1 basket for himself to put the Celtics back up by 10. Knight hit a deep 3 for the Suns before Wallace answered & Young scored off a turnover as Boston went up by 12. 4 straight 3’s by Crowder, Young & Thomas (twice) extended the lead to 18 with still 6 minutes left in the half as Boston had 55 points on the board. The Celtics got up by 19 a few times but Phoenix stuck around as Boston led 67-50 at the half after shooting 54% & 59% from 3.

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Avery picked up his 3rd foul of the game on the 1st Phoenix play of the half which led to free throws & Len scored quickly after as they cut it to 14. The Celtics were able to answer & push the lead to 20 off a Turner dunk. A 7-0 run by the Suns was stopped from a Zeller jump shot but the lead was down to 13 as Brad Stevens called for a timeout. An empty possession out of the timeout & Knight put it another 3 followed by some free throws & a dunk for the Suns as it was suddenly a 6 point game.  Bradley, Thomas & Turner scored 6 straight to get the Celtics back up by double digits. The Celtics took a 10 point lead into the 4th quarter.

Four consecutive turnovers on Boston possessions had the Suns back within 8. Some sloppy possessions by both sides but Phoenix were able to cut the Celtics lead to 3 with still 6 minutes to go. Crowder put Boston back on top by 6 but Knight immediately answered. The Celtics were still holding a 3 point lead with 3:28 remaining despite shooting 2-14 in the quarter. Avery stripped Bledsoe of the ball & then nailed a 3 at the other end to put the C’s back up 6. Bledsoe hit back to back 3’s to cut the Boston lead to 1 before Thomas answered with a 3 + the foul. Thomas then stole the ball and scored on a driving layup to put Boston up 7 with only 40 seconds left. Tucker got an offensive rebound put back + the foul to make it a 4 point game. Turner & Smart both then split free throws to have Boston back up 6. Bledsoe was able to get a quick 2 with 17 seconds still left. Avery was fouled & made both free throws but Bledsoe quickly scored again before Goodwin fouled Smart who made both. Goodwin then hit a 3 to make it a one possession game with 1.7 seconds remaining. Thomas made both free throws & that would be the final score as Boston won 115-110.

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Player statistics:
Avery Bradley: 23 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Brandon Bass: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Isaiah Thomas: 21 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists
Evan Turner: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Jae Crowder: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
James Young: 8 points, 5 rebounds
Tyler Zeller: 12 points, 6 rebounds

Trade Deadline Recap: Well Done Danny

A mere two hours before yesterday’s trade deadline, Celtics reporters were all stating the same thing – expect Danny Ainge and his crew to stand firm and let the deadline pass with no moves. Think again! In the dying stages of the 3pm cut-off, the Celtics got involved in a very productive way.

Continue reading Trade Deadline Recap: Well Done Danny

Isaiah Thomas to Boston for Thornton and 2016 first-rounder, per Adrian Woj

The Wojfather is working overtime with a mindblowing flood this trade deadline! Can’t say I don’t like the sound of that. A ’16 pick and Thornton for Thomas? What a deal, Danny. Welcome to Beantown, Isaiah.

Playoffs or Lottery?

With the first half of the season gone, and the Celtics possessing a similar record to that of last year, the same questions are being asked, what is better for the team: playoffs or lottery?

When Ainge traded away both Rondo and Green for future assets, it was assumed that the Celtics would waive the white flag this season in hopes of a high lottery pick – but after a stirring victory against the East-leading Atlanta Hawks going into the all-star break, the unlikely thought of playoffs for these stubborn Celtics in 2015 is now starting to become a reality.  But what is best for this team?  To make the playoffs or to blow it up even further for a better draft pick to keep building?  There is a valid argument to be made for both camps.

Playoffs
An unlikely run to the playoffs could have a greatly positive effect for this young Celtics team.  For starters, it would mean that our young core has stepped up, increasing their value to the team and around the league – this is especially important considering Ainge’s history of drafting/developing young talent, and then trading for a superstar.  It would also mean that Coach Brad Stevens will add another feather to his cap and pick up some valuable playoff experience whilst gaining even more recognition for the job that he has done.  Having a successful culture within the team is also critical with free agency on the horizon as potential free agents would factor this in to their decisions.
If the Celtics were to sputter down the home stretch and only make the playoffs because the lack of competition in the East, then there could be a negative effect for this team.  The team could miss out on a potential lottery pick/quality young player, they could be stuck in the dreaded land of mediocrity, or there could even be a false sense of where this team is really at.

Lottery
We have all been down this road before – Ainge guts the team, and lets them free-fall into the lottery, where we cross our fingers, cross our toes, clutch on to a rabbits foot or a four-leaf clover in hope for at least a top 3 pick in the draft.  In theory, this is a great idea, especially when the draft class is tipped to yield some potentially great players, it is a great way to acquire a franchise-altering player without having to sacrifice money/players/assets for them.
The reality is however, unless the team is bad enough (bottom 2, which the Celtics have no chance of being) – there is no guarantee that you could end up with a top 5 pick, let alone a top 3 pick.  This strategy can be flawed as the team would be relying on luck over anything else, and for the Celtics, luck has not been on their side when it comes to the lottery balls.

ainge-playoffs

“I would love to see our team in the playoffs, but I don’t want to see us back into the playoffs with a really bad record and not even have a fighting chance. If our team can keep getting better by developing, if we can make some deals at the trade deadline that put us in position to actually get into the playoffs and have a chance to win a playoff series, I think that would be a lot of fun.” – Danny Ainge, January 30th, 2015

Danny Ainge has nailed exactly how I feel with this quote.  I would love to see the Celtics reload at the trade deadline, and make a serious run for the playoffs.  Given that the Celtics have already won 20 games, and has the most games remaining against teams that are sub .500, the chance to increase lottery odds may prove quite difficult – especially with Lakers, Knicks, 76ers and Timberwolves all on 13 wins or under.  What I do not want to see however, is a team that makes the playoffs due to inferior competition, and then in turn, gets swept by a higher seed.
With the trade deadline rumours swirling all around the NBA and the Celtics in particular, it seems like it is a real possibility that the Celtics may actually pick up a piece or two to assist in a push for the playoffs which is a far cry from what direction everyone thought the team was going after trading Rondo and Green within a month of each other.

Given the position we are in, I would love to see a young, feisty team fighting all the way through for the second half of the season – we have tried to be lottery players in the past with no high picks to show for it.  As a fan, it is so much fun to watch a competitive, scrappy team fight hard and play for something meaningful every night rather than watching a lot of moral victories.  Not wanting to be mediocre is one thing, but wanting to either contend or have one of the worst records with no in between is too extreme.  Let the young guys learn, play and earn playoff experience.

What do you think is best for this Celtics team?  Would you like to see them make a run into the playoffs, or would you like to see them try their luck at a higher lottery pick?  Leave your comment below.

Celtics fall to shorthanded Miami as Whiteside scores 20.

After losing 3 of their last 4 the Boston Celtics were looking to get things back on track against the Wade & Deng-less Miami Heat.

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Zeller would be starting over Sullinger who was late to the arena & it didn’t take Tyler long to get the first Celtics basket. Miami got out to a quick 6 point lead as Boston struggled from the floor. Zeller got to the line on consecutive trips to cut the lead to 3 but Miami would respond & get it to an 8 point lead. Thornton got it back to 5 but a 5-0 run by the Heat as the quarter ended with a Chris Anderson 3 had them on top by 10 as the Celtics shot 5-22 on field goals.

Boston started the 2nd on an 8-2 run to get within 4 but Miami would answer with an 8-0 burst to go up by 12 points. Pressey would get some run during the 2nd quarter as Boston went 11 deep in the first half & Prince still hadn’t played. Bass cut it to 10 but Bosh hit a 3 followed by a Chalmers basket had Miami up 15. Sullinger closed the cold half with a jumper as the Celtics could only manage 31 first half points & trailed by 13.

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The 2nd half began with Avery scoring 2 baskets off Zeller assists before Avery got a dime of his own to Bass. Bosh got fouled & split the free throws to keep Miami’s lead at 10 but Crowder responded with a 3. Zeller put in his 12th point of the night to get Boston down 4 & off to a perfect 7-7 start to the quarter. The points forced a Miami timeout as the Celtics started the half on a 16-7 run. An Avery steal & slam followed by a Bass hook shot had the crowd roaring & Boston only down 2 which would be the deficit heading into the final frame after a back and forth last few minutes that seen Bradley head to the locker room.

Whiteside started the 4th with 3 straight baskets to give him 20 points followed by a Bosh basket to get the Heat back on top by 10. Bass got the C’s back within 7 but Miami scored 4 to push it to 11 as Boston took a timeout to try & make a comeback with 5 minutes left. Bradley hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 8 but time was running low. Smart hit a 3 which were his first points of the night & Zeller split some free throws to get Boston down 6. The Celtics stole an inbounds pass but turned it straight back over & Norris Cole would make us pay. Boston came back from 15 down to tie it up but would eventually fall 75-83.

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Player statistics:
Avery Bradley: 17 Points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Brandon Bass: 15 points, 6 rebounds
Tyler Zeller: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Marcus Smart: 3 Points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists (Career high)
Marcus Thornton: 9 points, 3 rebounds
Jared Sullinger: 7 points, 3 rebounds

Green Runs Deep #10 – Jay O – Reds Army

Our tenth edition of ‘Green Runs Deep’ proudly features Jay O, a contributing member of RedsArmy.com, and a Boston area native. I’ve always enjoyed following Jay on Twitter, as he posts constant high-quality tweets, has excellent knowledge about the game of Basketball, and is intensely passionate of his beloved Boston Celtics. Jay also happens to have an outstanding sense of humour.

Enjoy his story. @AusCelticsFan

Continue reading Green Runs Deep #10 – Jay O – Reds Army

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