Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics go to hack-a-Drummond strategy

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics go to hack-a-Drummond strategy

BOSTON – The Detroit Pistons closed out the first half by scoring six of the last seven points which provided them with a 59-53 halftime lead over the Boston Celtics.
The mini-run by the Pistons to close out the half was in many ways symbolic of how most of the first half played out. 
Boston would do some nice things, come within a point or a possession of taking the lead or tying the game up, only for Detroit to come back with timely shots from their perimeter players. 
The Celtics seemed to have tapped into an all-too common strategy used against the Pistons and their All-Star center Andre Drummond who is one of the NBA’s worst free throw shooters. 
Trailing 51-46 with 3:19 to play in the half, the Celtics went to the hack-a-Drummond strategy on two consecutive possessions. 
He was 2-for-4 from the line during that period of time. In between his free throws, Isaiah Thomas made a pair of 3-pointers that brought Boston within 53-52. 
That would be as close as the Celtics would get for the remainder of the half. 
Here’s a look at the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from tonight’s game.


Andre Drummond

After getting ejected in the second quarter last night at Charlotte, he looked very much like a refreshed, ready-to-go force for Detroit. He went into the half already with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. 
Isaiah Thomas

Scoring is once again proving difficult to come by, but the 5-foot-9 all-star continues to stay aggressive and attack the rim frequently. He led all scorers at the half with 16 points. 


Jon Leuer

He gave the Celtics fits when he was in Phoenix, and he’s doing the same tonight for Detroit. He came off the Pistons bench for eight points in 13 minutes, along with grabbing three rebounds and dishing out two assists.  
Kelly Olynyk

He gave Boston a nice lift off the bench with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in 11 minutes of court time. 

Avery Bradley

He was scoreless in the first half, missing all five of his shots from the field. And the Celtics’ top rebounder hasn’t done much on the glass either, with just three rebounds in the first half. 

Kevin Garnett predicts Marcus Morris' game-winner right before it happens

Kevin Garnett predicts Marcus Morris' game-winner right before it happens

Kevin Garnett was paying close attention to Tuesday night's thriller between the Celtics and Thunder.

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from C's-Thunder

On KG's Area 21, the former Celtics great watched as Boston rallied in the game's final minute to make a stunning comeback. Right before Marcus Morris drilled the game-winner, Garnett called it by saying, "The Morris twin will end up shooting this or something because he like 'yeah I'm about the moment'"

Not a bad call. Morris certainly was "about the moment" Tuesday night as he has been multiple times this season.


Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”