Fourth quarter is Isaiah Thomas' time

Fourth quarter is Isaiah Thomas' time

INDIANAPOLIS -- It doesn’t matter how the Boston Celtics are playing or how obvious the Celtics’ game plan down the stretch is.
When the fourth quarter rolls around, the ball will find its way into the hands of Isaiah Thomas early and often.
And as we’ve seen most of this season, the 5-foot-9 Thomas continues to come up big for the Green Team when it matters most.
Thursday night at Indiana was yet another strong scoring night for the Celtics’ fourth-quarter assassin, as Thomas tallied 14 of his team-high 28 points in the final period of play as Boston left Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a 109-102 win.
Avery Bradley’s defense on Paul George (19 points, 5-for-16 shooting) was impressive all game. Jae Crowder (15 points on 5-for-9 shooting) and Amir Johnson (11 points, 5-for-7 shooting, six rebounds) came up big as well for Boston (17-12).
But when the fourth quarter arrived, the Celtics hit a stretch about midway through when the offense sputtered only to be re-ignited by Thomas who ranks among the NBA’s top scorers overall (26.7 points per game, 7th in the NBA) as well as in the fourth quarter.
After checking into the game with 7:36 to play, it took Thomas 104 seconds to make his first basket. He would go on to score eight of Boston’s next 11 points as they continued to generate enough offense to keep the hard-charging Pacers (15-16) at bay.
“The fourth quarter ain’t for everybody,” said Thomas whose 8.4 points in the fourth quarter is second in the NBA only to Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (9.8 points in the fourth) whom the Celtics face Friday night at the TD Garden. “I just embrace the opportunity. I love the fourth quarter, I love when the game is close. I want to be that type of guy.”
As impressive as Thomas is in the fourth scoring the ball, he would be remiss if he didn’t make mention of the fact that a lot of those big shots he knocks down, are the collective efforts of his teammates doing their jobs well enough to where he can have an opportunity to make impactful plays in the game’s most pivotal moments.
“My teammates put me in position. They screen, they get me open,” Thomas said. “They look for me to score and make plays. I do what I’ve always done, I guess.”

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”