Celtics' Isaiah Thomas embraces having Al Horford as new go-to guy

Celtics' Isaiah Thomas embraces having Al Horford as new go-to guy

READING, Mass. – For most of Isaiah Thomas’ time in Boston, there really hasn’t been much competition in terms of his place atop the team’s pecking order of importance.
Indeed, Thomas has been THAT dude!
Well THAT dude has some company with four-time All-Star Al Horford a Celtic now after spending his first nine seasons in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks.
It will certainly be a change; a change that Thomas says he’s more than ready to embrace.
“It’s only going to help. That’s what we need, other guys that can put the ball in the basket, other guys that can do a variety of different things and he’s one of those guys,” said Thomas, speaking to CSNNE.com at the Isaiah Thomas Basketball Pro Camp at Reading Memorial High School. “The attention will go off me a little bit with having Al Horford on our team. I’m just ready for the opportunity to get to know him and get going and try to get our games to gel with each other.”
Thomas acknowledged he’s hopeful the learning curve for him and Horford to get on the same page will be a short one.
“I know it’s a process and it’s going to take a little bit [of time], but we’re both competitors. We want to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said.
The Celtics signed Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract this summer. The only other free agent more highly regarded was Kevin Durant, who considered the Celtics as a possible destination after eventually deciding to leave Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State.
Thomas sees Horford as one of a handful of changes Danny Ainge and the Celtics have made since last season that should benefit both himself and the team.
By drafting Jaylen Brown with the No. 3 pick and bringing former Celtic Gerald Green back, Boston has upgraded its level of athleticism going into this season. Both of those players attack the rim, which should take some of the pressure off Thomas to be counted on so heavily to contribute in those particular areas.
“Shooting and guys that can attack, that’s what we needed,” Thomas said. “We got a new addition in Gerald Green, a familiar face around here. He can shoot the ball, lights out. And he’s athletic so he can go in and dunk on you. I know a lot of guys have been working hard this summer to go in and prove that they’re ready. I’m excited about that opportunity.”
So are Celtics fans about this season, one in which the Celtics will be expected to finish among the top three or four teams in the East.
“I don’t want to put a hat on it, but the NBA knows we’re going to be pretty good,” Thomas said. “Teams know, everywhere I go people are excited about the Boston Celtics. And we’re going to just try and take steps forward. I know Brad [Stevens] and the coaching staff are going to do everything they can to put us in position to be successful. We gotta bring it come October.”

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

File Photo

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.