Thomas leads Celtics down the stretch to beat Mavericks, 90-83

Thomas leads Celtics down the stretch to beat Mavericks, 90-83

BOSTON – Losing on the road to a one-win New Orleans team, that’s one thing. 

But to the Dallas Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles), a limited Deron Williams (ankle) and no J.J. Barea (left leg) down the stretch?

Did we mention their best rim protector, Andrew Bogut, fouled out with 5:17 to play?

But down the stretch, the Celtics found another gear to shift into which was exactly what they needed to pull away in the final minutes of play for a 90-83 win. 


Boston (6-5) has now won three of its last four games while the Mavericks (2-8) continue to rank among the worst teams in the NBA this season.

While the game may have been closer than anticipated, the Celtics still managed to do what the good teams do and that’s find a way to win regardless of the opponent.  

Isaiah Thomas took over in the fourth for the Celtics, scoring 22 of his game-high 30 points. 

The Mavericks were leaning heavily on Harrison Barnes to carry them down the stretch. 

And to his credit, he did a decent job, scoring 12 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth. 

The Mavericks also got a strong game from Wes Matthews who had 22 points which included six 3-pointers. 

But when it mattered down the stretch, the Celtics leaned on their backcourt tandem of Thomas and Avery Bradley who helped fuel a 10-3 run late in the fourth capped off by an emphatic Bradley dunk that made it an 86-79 game.  

Bradley had his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 18 points to go with a game-high 13 rebounds.

Dallas took its first lead on a Justin Anderson lay-up that made it 60-59 with 10:53 to play only for the Celtics to regain it seconds later as Gerald Green found Kelly Olynyk diving to the basket for a go-ahead lay-up. 

The Mavericks, playing without Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles), continued to stay within striking distance but the Celtics managed to make all the plays needed to get the win even as they too played short-handed with Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (left ankle sprain) were also out.

Marcus Morris leads Celtics to comeback victory over Trail Blazers, 105-100

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Marcus Morris leads Celtics to comeback victory over Trail Blazers, 105-100

In the first quarter, the Boston Celtics had one of those “not again!” moments when Marcus Morris, with a noticeable limp, headed to the Celtics locker room with a member of the training staff. 

Even though it didn’t seem like that big a deal, Celtics fans have seen this scene before and more often than not – at least this season – it hasn’t ended well for Boston. 

Fortunately for Boston, Morris went back to get his right ankle re-taped, returned to the floor and started to do Marcus Morris-like things like, you know, hit late-game daggers. 

Morris, whose 3-pointer lifted Boston to an improbable win earlier this week over Oklahoma City, was once again coming through in the clutch as Boston swept the season series against Portland with a 105-100 win. 

“I’m just being aggressive and … shots are going down for me,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin after the win.

Boston’s execution in the closing seconds was huge for the Celtics, but it was Morris’ 3-pointer with less than a minute to play that gave the Celtics a 101-96 lead that would later serve as the game-winning shot, his second in as many games. 

Morris also led all players with 30 points, with Terry Rozier (16 points) and Jayson Tatum (13 points) also coming up big for Boston. 

The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum who each had 26 points.

Morris’ big game came hours after the Celtics learned that leading scorer Kyrie Irving was going to have a “minimally invasive” procedure performed on Saturday, which meant the Celtics would have to continue searching for a go-to scorer in Irving’s absence.

That player appears to be Morris who led the Celtics to yet another unlikely win against one of the better teams in the NBA. 

Morris’ late-game heroics began earlier in the fourth when he hit a top-of-the-key 3-pointer that put Boston up 85-84 with 6:26 to play. 

But the Blazers responded with a 7-2 run with all seven points scored by McCollum to put Portland back on top 91-87.

Boston came back with four straight points to tie the game at 91, with all four points being scored by Al Horford only for Lillard, following an offensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu, hit a go-ahead 3-pointer.

But back came Boston, scoring five straight that included a pair of go-ahead free throws by Rozier with 2:07 to play.


Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

With Kyrie Irving undergoing a “minimally invasive procedure” on Saturday, the Boston Celtics may look to add a player via the “hardship roster exception” that only teams that are significantly impacted by injuries, are eligible for. 

MORE - Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

The Celtics won’t have a clear sense of what the timetable will be for Irving’s return until after his procedure is performed. 

But it’s likely to be at least a couple weeks which at the earliest would put Irving’s return just before the playoffs. 

In order to qualify for the NBA’s hardship roster exception, at least four players must miss a minimum of three consecutive games, and later be deemed to be out for an additional two weeks. 

Gordon Hayward (dislocated left ankle) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus, left knee) are out for the season, and Marcus Smart (right thumb) recently underwent surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least another five weeks. 

An independent doctor will determine if the extent of the aforementioned injuries as well as the recovery time for Irving, meet the two-week criteria to be eligible for the hardship roster exception. 

Once that’s determined, Boston will be given a hardship roster exception to use on a player for the remainder of the regular season but won’t be eligible for the postseason. 

If Boston does add a player, look for him to come from the Gatorade League, possibly their G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. 

Boston has a collection of guards who have helped fill the void left by Irving’s absence, but Boston has not been able to address the loss of Daniel Theis. 

Keep an eye on former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 16.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Red Claws this season. 

MORE - Hayward gives update on rehab

Boston has a 45-day cap on the use of its two-way players with the parent team, but that limitation ends tomorrow which means guard/forward Jabari Bird and guard Kadeem Allen can earn the league minimum for every day they are with the Celtics going forward in the regular season. That can provide some depth to a Celtics team that because of injuries, can use every healthy body they can find.