Celtics

Isaiah Thomas sheds some light on how he found out he got traded

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Isaiah Thomas sheds some light on how he found out he got traded

BOSTON – Danny Ainge has made no secret about how difficult it was for him to tell Isaiah Thomas that he had been traded to Cleveland in a deal that centered around Boston acquiring four-time all-star Kyrie Irving. 

“It was one of the most difficult conversations I ever had,” Ainge told CSN's Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine following last week’s introductory press conference for Irving and Gordon Hayward. “I.T., everybody in Boston is grateful for I.T. and all that he’s done.”

Thomas has remained relatively quiet on his feelings about the trade. 

However, he did provide some insight into how Ainge broke the news to him, on an Instagram video posted on Tuesday.

Apparently Thomas initially missed the call from Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations.

“I called him back,” Thomas said in his Instagram video which lasted about one minute. “He was like, ‘How’s your life?’

Thomas recalled saying, “I just got back home; I’m straight.”

And then Ainge, according to Thomas said, “I just traded you.”

As much as having a player with Irving's talent will be to the Celtics, the contributions made by Thomas to this franchise in his two-plus seasons will not be forgotten anytime soon.

In fact, the players that now constitute Boston’s Big Three – Irving, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward – are all here in part because of Thomas’ play (Irving) and ability to convince them (Horford and Hayward) to come to Boston and be part of something special. 

“We wouldn’t be here today with Kyrie and Gordon and Al Horford, if I.T. didn’t exist,” Ainge said. “If I.T. hadn’t helped us get back on the map . . . we’re probably not sitting here having this press conference. Gordon Hayward probably isn’t impressed with the team. Horford and everything else.”

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Jerebko hoping for a winning return to Boston

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Jerebko hoping for a winning return to Boston

When Jonas Jerebko was with the Celtics, his play and performance often drew very little fanfare or notice from anyone other than his teammates and coaches. 
 
Now with the Utah Jazz and back in Boston for the first time, he is once again a low-key -- but important -- contributor. 

And it's a role that Jerebko doesn’t mind playing, in part because of his time in Boston. 

“It’s all about winning over there,” Jerebko told the Deseret News recently. “I had three great seasons there, going to the playoffs, Eastern Conference finals and a lot of winning, so I just learned that this league is about winning and that’s it.”
 
While that’s true, Jerebko’s role with the Jazz appears to be slightly more prominent than it was in Boston. 
 
In his two-plus seasons in Boston, Jerebko made six starts. We’re not even at Christmas yet in his first season in Utah and the 6-foot-10 forward has already had 10 starts for the Jazz.  He’s also averaging 6.3 points, which is more than he ever averaged in a full season for the Celtics. And he’s shooting a career-high 44.4 percent from 3-point range. 
 
The numbers are better in Utah, but Jerebko is more concerned with helping the Jazz (13-14) rack up a few more wins.
 
“It’s all about that win in that column, so that’s really what I learned in spending my time [in Boston],” Jerebko said. “It was a good time.”
 
Here are five under-the-radar story lines leading up to tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz. 


 
ROOKIE SHOWCASE
 
Fans are in for a treat tonight when two of the NBA’s top rookies will be on the floor. Boston’s Jayson Tatum, the NBA’s top 3-pointer shooter this season, has established himself as one of the top rookies in most categories. Meanwhile, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell has made a name for himself as one of the league’s best first-year players, evident by him averaging 17.8 points per game, which is tops among all rookies. 


  
3-POINT DEFENSE
 
Keep an eye on Boston’s 3-point defense. The Celtics come into tonight’s game limiting opponents to 33.8 percent on 3’s, which is the second-lowest average in the NBA. They face a Utah team that has been among the league’s best this season. The Jazz are shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range, which ranks fifth in the league.


 
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
 
Limiting their mistakes will once again be a key for the Celts because few teams capitalize on mistakes as well as Utah. The Jazz force 16.5 turnovers per game, which ranks second in the NBA. But more impactful is the points those turnovers produce. The Jazz come into tonight’s game having averaged 19.1 points off turnovers, which ranks fifth in the NBA. 


 
GORDON HAYWARD
 
This was supposed to be his first time facing his old team, but the dislocated left ankle injury he suffered on Oct. 17 has put him on the shelf for what’s expected to be the rest of this season. Still, that won’t prevent his former teammates from playing with a little extra something. As for the Celtics, they have had a tremendous amount of success against Utah at home which can only enhance their chances of winning tonight. 


 
KILLER SCHEDULE
 
While the Celtics are playing a ton of games before most teams in the NBA, the Jazz have their own scheduling nightmare to deal with. Specifically, the caliber of opponents that they have ahead of them is pretty daunting. They play the Celtics tonight followed by a road game against Cleveland on Saturday. From there, they face Houston and Oklahoma City on the road, then come home to take on the San Antonio Spurs (who now have Kawhi Leonard back in the mix). Including the Celtics game tonight, seven of Utah’s remaining games in the calendar year 2017 are against teams with an above-.500 record.

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the Jazz at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Slumping Jazz look to break long losing streak in Boston

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

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