Isaiah Thomas' plan vs. 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert? 'Just attack him'

Isaiah Thomas' plan vs. 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert? 'Just attack him'

At some point tonight, Isaiah Thomas is going to have an eye towards driving into the lane against the Utah Jazz.

And Utah’s defensive ace, 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert, will be somewhere in the vicinity waiting for him.

Thomas’ game plan when faced with the NBA’s best shot-blocker nearby?

“Just attack him,” Thomas told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “Shot blockers, you’ve just got to attack ‘em. I mean, they’re gonna block a few shots. You’ve just gotta keep going at ‘em. And for me, I’ve just gotta figure out different ways to score over him.”

That was the game plan when these two met earlier this season, a 115-104 Celtics win.

Thomas, coming off a career-high 52 points against Miami on Dec. 30, tallied 29 points and a career-high 15 assists in Boston’s victory.

The 115 points scored by Boston was the most allowed by the Jazz this season, a point total fueled in large part by the play of Thomas.

“His ability to finish is incredibly unique,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Thomas. “It’s because he can find angles and go around. His ability to get around defenses is what makes him so unique.”

Said Thomas; “He’s so long, so tall and he’s one of the best shot-blockers in the game. So my job is just, when I get in there, I’ve just gotta figure out how to get it to the hoop.”

Stevens points to the fact that unlike some players in the NBA, Thomas has always had to navigate his way in the paint around bigger players.

“He’s always been the smallest guy on the court,” Stevens said.

When reminded that he has had to deal with bigger defenders his entire life, Thomas agreed.

“But he’s a little different,” Thomas said. “They haven’t been that tall my whole life.”

Although many see his size as a detriment, it actually becomes a strength once he gets into the lane.

“No matter how big you are, once I’m able to get a body on you, it helps me,” Thomas said. “I can stay in the air a little long than them and figure things out. But like I said, he’s (Gobert) a hell of a defender and you’ve got to pick and choose when to attack him.”

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.”