Halftime stars, studs and duds: Thomas handles pain and pressure like a true pro

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Thomas handles pain and pressure like a true pro

BOSTON – With a heavy heart, Isaiah Thomas took to the floor just one day after the death of his 22-year-old sister Chyna J. Thomas.
No one knew how Thomas would handle the emotional pain of his sister’s death, with the challenge of playing in his first playoff series as the favorite.
Thomas did his part, but it still wasn’t enough as the Celtics found themselves down 48-46 at the half after Al Horford hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as the halftime horn sounded.
Boston had a decent first quarter which ended with the Celtics ahead 28-23. But the second quarter was an absolute nightmare with the Bulls opening it with a 10-0 run to lead 33-28.
After a time-out with 8:41 to play in the half, the Celtics soon tied it up at 33 following an Avery Bradley 3-pointer and a Thomas driving lay-up, only to find themselves down 37-33 following baskets by Bobby Portis and Paul Zipser.
Brad Stevens called a time-out with 5:18 to play, hoping the Celtics could re-focus and start executing better.
But for the rest of the quarter, the Celtics consistently failed to get that necessary stop defensively or make a potentially game-changing basket to swing the game’s momentum back in their favor.
Considering how Boston got its butt totally kicked on the glass 32-20, to be trailing by just two points at the half is a small victory in itself.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Sunday’s game between Boston and Chicago.

Isaiah Thomas

He handled the pain and pressure of playing hours after his younger sister’s death like a true pro, leading the Celtics with 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting in the first half.
Robin Lopez

He’s known primarily as a rebounder and defender, but his offense was also humming along on Sunday. At the half, he had 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting to go with six rebounds.

Bobby Portis

He came off the Chicago bench and gave the Bulls a nice lift, scoring seven points to go with four rebounds and two assists.
Avery Bradley

The Celtics need a solid number two scorer to Thomas, and Bradley was up to the challenge in the first half. He had 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting.
Boston’s rebounding

The Celtics are getting smashed on the glass, 32-20, at the half. It isn’t so much about the rebounds creating scoring opportunities for the Bulls, but how those rebounds are robbing the Celtics of offensive possessions which is why this has been such a low-scoring first half. Despite having grabbed 16 offensive rebounds against Boston, the Bulls have a slim 15-13 edge in second-chance points.

Report: Celtics to sign Kilpatrick to 10-day contract

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Report: Celtics to sign Kilpatrick to 10-day contract

The depleted Celtics will sign guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract, according to The Boston Herald's Mark Murphy.

Kilpatrick, 28, 6-4, 210 pounds, who played at the University of Cincinnati, most recently played for the Clippers this season and has spent time with the Bucks and Brooklyn Nets the past two seasons. 

With their spate of injuries lately, including Kyrie Irving undergoing a procedure on his knee Saturday, the Celtics have been granted a "hardship roster exemption" by the NBA. 


Report: Optimism that Kyrie will be back for playoffs

Report: Optimism that Kyrie will be back for playoffs

There's optimism that Kyrie Irving will be able to return to the Celtics sometime during the playoffs, according to multiple reports. 

The Celtics said their All-Star guard should be able to return to "basketball activities in 3-6 weeks." That doesn't necessarily mean games. The NBA playoffs begin April 14 and the conference finals as early as May 13.

The team released the following statement: 

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving today underwent a minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The wire was originally placed as part of the surgical repair of a fractured patella sustained during the 2015 NBA Finals. While removal of the wire should relieve irritation it was causing in Irving’s patellar tendon, the fractured patella has fully healed and Irving’s knee has been found to be completely structurally sound. Irving is expected to return to basketball activities in 3-6 weeks.

Irving underwent the procedure on his left knee to help alleviate the soreness that has kept the Celtics All-Star guard out the past five games. There was a fear that Irving could be lost for the rest of the season, including playoffs. 

Dr. Christopher Chihlas from Southcoast Health had told NBC Sports Boston on Friday that Irving might be able to return in "three to four weeks" in the best-case scenario.

More to come...