Celtics get Game 5 win despite an off night for Isaiah Thomas

Celtics get Game 5 win despite an off night for Isaiah Thomas

BOSTON – Time after time, we have seen the Boston Celtics struggle mightily when Isaiah Thomas was off his game.
Wednesday’s Game 5 against Chicago was about as bad as we’ve seen Thomas shoot the ball in a while, and was certainly his worst shooting game in this playoff series.
And there were the Celtics, surging ahead as Thomas struggled which wasn’t enough to derail Boston from coming away with a 108-97 Game 5 win over the Bulls which gives them a 3-2 series lead in the best-of-seven series.
Thomas finished with a game high-tying 24 points (Avery Bradley also had 24 points), but did so on 6-for-17 shooting.
In the past, we have seen the Celtics offense cave in quickly when Thomas was off the floor.
But for him to have an off night, instant loss right?
Not tonight.
“I remain confident in those guys,” Thomas said. “I know they are really good shooters and we’re not too worried about the shooting percentage, especially myself. I’ve been getting good open looks; my teammates have been getting me open.”
But Thomas, like most of his teammates, have struggled hitting the open shot throughout this series.
In Game 5, Thomas had five uncontested field goal attempts and wound up missing four of them.
As a team, the Celtics connected on just 30.9 percent of their uncontested field goals (12-for-39) in Game 5.
Boston’s shooting struggles would have been significantly more impactful if not for the Celtics keeping turnovers to a minimum (just six for the game) as well as being more competitive than usual on the glass.
“I have no idea what the rebounding totals were but I felt like we were decent on the glass,” said Stevens who was given a final stats sheet moments later. “We’ve got to not turn the ball over … I have an idea now what the rebounding totals were; yeah, we were minus four. That’s a pretty good night for us.”
Pretty good?
Actually, Boston’s 42-38 rebounding deficit in Game 5 was the closest the Celtics have been on the boards to Chicago in the three playoff games in this series at the TD Garden.
 And it’s not just a coincidence that Boston’s best rebounding night at home also led to them getting the first home win for either team in this series.
But ultimately Boston has to do a better job of making baskets, especially the wide open ones that they as a team have consistently missed.
 “We just gotta knock down the shots and Coach (Brad Stevens) keeps saying one day soon were going to knock down the open shots that we are missing,” Thomas said. “And it might be (Game 6). I’m happy about my teammates, how they played, and they picked up my slack.”
Which is a role reversal from what we’ve seen this season from the Thomas-led Celtics who for a change, had his back offensively and not the other way around.

Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

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Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

There hasn't been all positive news surrounding Gordon Hayward as of late.

The Celtics have been shooting down rumors of Hayward returning this season. Recent news has detailed a minor setback in his recovery.

But it's always good to see the C's superstar up early crushing a workout in the weightroom.

We might not see him back in 2018, but his dedication during recovery is something to admire.


Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

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Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.