Halftime stars, studs and duds: Johnson, Thomas lead the way for Celtics

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Johnson, Thomas lead the way for Celtics

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste much time putting to rest thoughts of them taking the Los Angeles Lakers for granted.

The Celtics led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter before taking a 70-45 lead into the half. Boston’s 70 points set a new season high for points scored in the first half.

Los Angeles jumped out to a 7-2 lead only for Boston to bounce back with a 12-3 run capped off by an Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer that put Boston ahead 14-10.

As the game wore on, Boston’s control of the game only increased.

The Lakers rank among the worst defensive teams in the NBA, and the Celtics took advantage by simply moving the ball – a strength of the Celtics – while taking whatever the defense gave them.

And on Friday night, the Lakers gave the Celtics pretty much anything they wanted offensively.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Friday night’s game against the Lakers.



Amir Johnson

It’s good to be home I suppose. The Los Angeles native had an extremely strong showing in the first half, scoring 11 points along with four assists, two steals and two rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

Slowly but surely, the Celtics’ leading scorer took over and delivered one big shot after another. He led all players at the half with 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting along with five assists.

 D’Angelo Russell

The points came early for Russell who had nine points on 4-for-6 shooting with three rebounds and two assists.

Jae Crowder

He really set the tone offensively for the Celtics, tallying 10 first-half points – all coming in the first quarter. He also grabbed five rebounds.



Avery Bradley

He made some nice moves cutting to the basket, and looks more like the rebounding force he was prior to the Achilles injury. At the half, he has eight points along with four rebounds.

Julius Randle

He had a solid first half for the Lakers, tallying nine points to go with four rebounds and two assists.

Al Horford

Lots of good things happened while Horford was on the floor, for him and the Celtics. He had nine points on 4-for-8 shooting with two rebounds and two assists.  



Jordan Clarkson

With Lou Williams traded, Clarkson has more opportunities than ever to jumpstart the Lakers offense. At the half, he is scoreless after having missed all six of his shots from the field.

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“He (Davis) was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

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

And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”