At the half: Celtics lead Pelicans by small margin


At the half: Celtics lead Pelicans by small margin

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics once again found themselves off to a slow start Saturday night, but a late surge changed that and the game as a whole for that matter, as Boston rallied in the second quarter to take a 57-53 lead into the half.

The Celtics trailed 49-42 in the second quarter when Brad Stevens called a time-out with 5:35 to play.

Whatever his message was, it rang loud and clear to his players who performed at a completely different level following the stoppage of play.

From there, Boston went on a 15-4 run to close out the quarter with contributions coming from several Celtics.

The turning point of the run came at the 2:05 mark, which is when Al Horford hit a 3-pointer that gave Boston its first lead of the night, 52-51.

On the ensuing defensive possession, Boston got a stop that led to Isaiah Thomas being fouled with 1:49 to play in the half.

Thomas made both free throws to increase Boston’s lead to 54-51 as part of an end of the quarter run that put Boston back in control of the game after what had been a sluggish start.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.


Anthony Davis: From the outset, Davis was on another level from the rest of the field. It seemed he was able to score whenever he wanted to. At the half he led all scorers with 19 points in addition to grabbing six rebounds.


Marcus Smart: Filling in for an injured Avery Bradley (right Achilles soreness), Smart was getting it done at both ends of the floor. At the half, he led the Celtics with 15 points and four assists along with two steals.

Jrue Holiday: The former all-star is slowly but surely returning to form after missing games at the start of the season to be with his wife who was ill at the time. He had eight points in the first half along with four assists.

Isaiah Thomas: Just another ho-hum first half for Thomas, who had 11 points and three rebounds.


Al Horford: He made a big shot that gave Boston its first lead of the game, but other than that Horford has been very ineffective. He has three points at the half, missing seven of the eight shot attempts he has taken. But in typical Horford fashion, he’s found other ways to contribute, tallying four rebounds and four assists.

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from Celtics-Trail Blazers

“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”