Halftime stars, studs and duds: Thomas makes impact in first half

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Thomas makes impact in first half

BOSTON –  Memphis wanted to do all it could to not allow Isaiah Thomas to not have another record-setting performance against them.

Thomas still made a significant imprint on the game in the first half, but unlike the career-high 44 points he dropped on the Grizzlies last week, Thomas had some help in the first half as Boston pulled away in the second quarter to lead 56-48.

Boston lead 28-24 after the first quarter, a game that was closer than the Celtics would have wanted in part because of the unusually high number of turnovers Memphis forced them into committing.

The Celtics average 12.2 turnovers per game, but had seven in the first quarter which led to seven points for the Grizzlies.

Playing without Mike Conley (left toe) and Chandler Parsons (knee), Memphis leaned on his best player who was healthy – Marc Gasol.

The All-Star center was indeed a problem for the Celtics at both ends of the floor, but he was particularly effective scoring the ball with 16 first-half points – just 3.7 shy of his season average.

But the Celtics countered with a balanced attack led by Thomas’ 12 points.

As was the case in Boston’s win at New York on Christmas Day, the Celtics got a huge lift off the bench from Gerald Green.

Within moments of checking into the game he drained a mid-range jumper. That would be the start of an eight-minute stretch in which the veteran guard scored 10 points.

The Grizzlies continued to battle despite being undermanned, and for the most part kept the deficit within single digits.

A 7-0 spurt by Boston put them ahead 56-43, only for the Grizzlies to score the final five points of the half.

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



Marc Gasol

No Memphis Grizzlies player came more ready to make an impact on the game than Gasol. He delivered a dominant first half performance, scoring 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the field.

Isaiah Thomas

Despite the Memphis Grizzlies’ intentions to “throw the kitchen sink” in trying to limit Isaiah Thomas, he still had a fairly productive first half of play. After two quarters, he had 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field with two assists.



Gerald Green

Proving his play at New York was no fluke, Green came back with a strong first half off the Celtics bench with 10 points in eight minutes on 4-for-6 shooting from the field.  

Amir Johnson

The last couple of weeks have seen Johnson play some of his most consistent basketball as a Celtic. In the first half he had four points to go with nine rebounds and two assists.

Tony Allen

With Mike Conley (left toe) and Chandler Parsons (knee) out, Allen had to become more of a scorer for the Grizzlies. He responded with nine points on 4-for-6 shooting.



Celtics turnovers

Boston looked like they were for a high turnover night with seven in the first quarter. But better poise in the second quarter resulted in the Celtics turning the ball over just one more time. Still, even eight at the half is high for a team that averages just 12.2 per game which ranks 4th in the league.


Against Magic, C's do what they're supposed to

Against Magic, C's do what they're supposed to

Beating one of the few teams already eliminated from the playoff race is in itself not that big a deal.

It’s called doing what you’re supposed to do.

But for these Celtics, their 92-83 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night was more than just another victory.

It was the latest installment in a season filled with teachable moments and lessons that can bolster in some fashion their chances at a deep playoff run.

While there’s no way they’re going to go far without their core guys Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, getting guys to fill in for them and still manage to win, is important in this team’s overall development in both the present and future.

No one on the Celtics’ roster can score like Irving, the league’s 11th-ranked scorer at 24.4 points per game.

Still, getting his fill-ins Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin to go for 17 and 10 points certainly helps.

And Jaylen Brown’s ability to play both ends of the floor at a high level is huge, but rookie Abdel Nader has shown he too has some potential to be a solid two-way talent.

Smart’s defense sets him apart from others, but the Celtics collectively were able to make up for that with an impressive defensive rating of 83.1 against the Orlando.

And their collective efforts serve as yet another teachable moment for the Celtics.

Here are five takeaways from a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might lead one to believe: 

There may not be another Celtic whose stock has risen more than Terry Rozier’s this season. He has become a reliable two-way talent off the bench whose capable of giving you starter-like production when needed. He had 17 points against the Magic along with seven rebounds and five assists.

With Marcus Smart (right thumb) out for the rest of the regular season, Terry Rozier in the starting lineup along with Marcus Morris, those are three really big chunks of Boston’s second unit no longer coming off the bench. The second unit players might have been different, but that didn’t affect the Celtics’ bench from impacting the game in a significant way. Against the Magic, they outscored Orlando’s backups, 39-28. 

He signed with the Boston Celtics at a time when a role for him was far from defined. His patience and Boston’s faith in him has paid for both as Larkin continues to be that utility player that Brad Stevens has leaned on at times. Larkin was solid off the bench, scoring 10 points.

This may be one of the closest Coach of the Year votes we have ever had in the NBA. Regardless how short the list may be, you can bet Brad Stevens will be on it. The way he has been positioning the Celtics to be among the last teams standing despite all the injuries they have endured this season, speaks to his ability to not just draw up X's and O’s but also his ability to develop players who when called upon to play, are more than ready for the challenge.

It’s fair to expect the Celtics are going to be short-handed for the rest of the season, which means those still around have to step their game up – Horford included.

For Horford, stepping up involves being more assertive as a scorer and not rely as much on his skills as a play-maker. We saw that from Horford on Friday, as he tallied a near double-double of 15 points and nine rebounds but more important, he took a game-high 18 shot attempts.


'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

AP Photo

'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

Former Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis was arrested last month in a hotel room in Aberdeen, Maryland, with more than 126 grams of marijuana and more than $92,000 in cash.

Davis, 32, who played on the Celtics 2008 championship team was last in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015, was arrested Feb. 7 after the hotel owner at the Aberdeen Hampton Inn smelled marijuana coming from Davis' room, WMAR-TV in Baltimore reported.

“They recovered 126 grams of marijuana,” Aberdeen Police Lt. William Reiber told WMAR. “In addition to that, there was a briefcase that contained 92,164 dollars of U.S. currency along with a ledger that contained language which is consistent with someone involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics.”

Davis is charged with seven counts of drug possession and distribution.

Police said the strains of marijuana were from a Los Angeles wholesaler that court records show Davis told police he was in business with.

He told officers he was visiting family in Maryland. Davis' attorney told WMAR the former Celtic (2007-11) adamantly maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court next month to clear his name.